Louisiana Army Explorers

Camouflage, concealment and wilderness skills order of the day

By Heather Regan White news@americanpress.com

VINTON — Most children are taking advantage of these last few days of summer vacation by sleeping in, swimming, or playing video games.

But the youth gathered this past weekend at the VFW Post 9854 in Vinton were focused on an entirely different set of objectives. The Louisiana Army Explorers, children 12 years old (or those entering sixth grade) through 18, camped out at the VFW to learn the ways of camouflage and concealment, decoys, and light and noise discipline. 

Though at first glance these skills may not seem necessary for navigating the upcoming school year, participants in the program say they are useful on a daily basis.

Cadet 1st Sgt. Cole Molitor, a polite and serious 13-year-old, is the highest ranking enlisted cadet with the company. He has been with the Explorers for four years. Molitor said the discipline the program instills has carried over into his regular life. 

“Skills I learn in here I use outside,” he said. “Like how to keep everything clean.” He said he’ll also be prepared to feed himself if he is stranded in the wilderness for an extended period of time. “If we do ever go out into the woods, I know survival skills,” he said. “We have a survival drill during the year and we learned how to kill animals, skin, clean, and … eat them.”

Cadet 2nd Lt. Trevor Neal, 15, will attend school at Sulphur High School 9th Grade Campus this year. He’s been an Explorer since he was 10. Neal said he really enjoyed Cadet Drill Sergeant School. The school, and program overall, has assisted him in better getting along with others. “I’ve developed more respect for other people,” he said.

Both Neal and Molitor say they plan to enlist in the U.S. Army when they are of age.

LAE Commander Chad LeJune said the program is modeled after the Louisiana National Guard. 

The cadets must attend one drill weekend a month and a nine-day boot camp at Camp Beauregard in Pineville every summer. All exercise regimens are tailored for age. 

“We do everything the way the Army would do it,” said LeJune. That includes learning how to march, use radio equipment, basic first aid, customs and courtesies, as well as whom, when and how to salute. The LAE is also required, by law, to teach sexual harassment and bullying prevention techniques. 

LeJune’s Company consists of 16 members — 14 boys and two new cadets, both girls. “Out motto is ‘Training Future Leaders,” he said. The 501C3 non profit doesn’t make future military service a requirement for participation. But for those youth interested in serving, the skills they are learning now will give them a leg up when they do join. 

The LAE keeps a service data sheet on each member outlining everything in which a cadet has taken part, and any promotions. LeJune said these sheets are submitted to the military when a cadet enlists. “That way they don’t have to enter as an E-1, all the way down at the bottom,” he said. “It helps out pay-wise.”

The LAE is run by volunteers from all walks of life. The staff consists of police and fire personnel, a psychologist, an attorney, and other professionals. Once a cadet turns 18, they are eligible to stay on and become part of the adult staff. 

For more information visit laarmyexplorers.org.

‘We do everything the way the Army would do it.’ 

Chad LeJune

LAE Commander


The Louisiana Army Explorers spent the past weekend at the VFW Post 9854 in Vinton mastering military skills and learning leadership qualities. Some of the cadets receive a leg up in training prior to military service.

Heather Regan White/American Press

Local News

Leesville celebrates first female police chief

Local Business News

Community Foundation hires master planning firm

Local Business News

Port of LC seeks reimbursement for hurricane repairs

Local News

Jim Gazzolo column: Cowboys show they can be the bully

Local News

Liz Williams: Desire to help comes from ‘missional heart’

National News

Biden, Manchin and Schumer huddle, but still no budget deal

Local News

Photo Gallery: Trinity Baptist Dodgeball Tournament

Local News

Craig Marks: Past hardships just something God had me go through

Local News

SW La. school lunch menus Oct. 25-29


10/23: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Local News

Trinity Baptist drawing younger generation with dodgeball tournament

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:Where do we go from here?

Local News

Deaf student welding his way to success

Business News

Louisiana float to appear in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Local News

Jeff Davis School Board approves one-time pay supplement


15-minute deliberation before Vernon man convicted of recruiting prostitutes


Kinder man convicted in double homicide


10/22: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Local News

More than 500 vehicles expected at Last Resort car show

Local News

SW La. nightlife calendar: Here’s what’s happening

Local News

It’s Spooktacular: Coats for Kids kickoff Oct. 29


DeRidder man convicted of kidnapping will be resentenced on drug charges

high-school Football

Dragons return home to face Bolton

Local News

Happy Halloween: Your thrill guide to fall fests and all kinds of frightening fun