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

SportsPlus

Local News

Council defers vote on potential Ernest and W. Claude development

life

Somber moment in community as Sacred Heart High School Gym demolished

Local News

Comedian Bob Newhart, deadpan master of sitcoms and telephone monologues, dies at 94

Local News

Trump has given no official info about his medical care for days since an assassination attempt

Local News

Lake Charles Police Department to host free National Night Out community event

life

Cajun Music and Food Festival introduces inaugural accordion contest

Crime

7/18: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Business

BREAKING: Smoke from Calcasieu Refinery blamed on flare

Jim Gazzolo

Jim Gazzolo column: Goff ready to turn the page on 2023

Local News

Toddler dies after shooting himself in the face, sheriff says

McNeese Sports

Early work for Cowboys

Local News

WEATHER WATCH: Torrential downpours in forecast

life

Chicken Fest: See plenty of poultry in motion Saturday at West Cal Arena

Local News

Enterprise Boulevard project goal: Strengthen connection between north, south LC

Local News

PHOTO GALLERY: Victory Day at Cowboy Stadium

Local News

Victory Day: McNeese players create field of smiles for special needs fans

Local News

Multiple failures, multiple investigations: Unraveling the attempted assassination of Donald Trump

Crime

7/17: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

McNeese Sports

Fixer Upper

life

Library invites feedback on resident needs, library priorities

Local News

Speaker Johnson: ‘We will make American safe again’

life

PHOTO GALLERY: Summer Culinary Camp

Local News

Parlez-vous francais? French table group meets to practice their French-speaking skills

life

Exchange project allows teenagers to visit different states for free