National Guard Holds Open House In Panama City - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

National Guard Holds Open House In Panama City

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The National Guard took time out of its normal duty to showcase its Panama City headquarters today.

The 1-153rd Cavalry Squadron opened its doors, tents, even the training rooms to share its mission with the community.

"I didn't even know they had equipment like this," said Austin Smith, 17. "It zooms in pretty good and I just thought it was pretty amazing."

Smith is taking advantage of the1-153rd Cavalry Squadron's open house.

"It blew my mind," said Smith. "I've already been here for 5 minutes, and my mind was blown."

The squadron's headquarters also invited Smith and other civilians inside to learn more about just what the Guard does and how they do it..

Saturday's open house was an effort for the Guard to spread awareness and establish a relationship with the community.

"I don't believe the National Guard is known like some of the other services, so we want to open up to give people more kind of an inside of what we do and why we do it," said Staff Sergeant David Hodges.

"It's something you really can't do at home and really see the real McCoy," said Steve Hoernlein, who was excited to check out the open house considering he's retired Air Force and his son is in the Army.

"So climbing on all this stuff and pretending I'm in combat, it's a really good experience," said Hoernlein. "It's almost like commercial Army experience, you're acting it out."

The National Guard is the reserve component of the Department of Army, which serves both a state and federal mission.

This squadron assists with all types of disasters throughout the state and has deployed twice overseas, and to help with Hurricane Katrina and 9-11.

Staff Sergeant Hodges tells me the armory on Lisenby Avenue also handles recruiting in addition to their 23rd Street office. Females and males between the ages of 17 and 35 are eligible to sign up.