Older reporter soldiers on

I’ve never served in the military, but by the end of this week, I should have a better understanding of how the U.S. Army does things.I’m one of 10 journalists from around the country participating in the first annual Military Journalist Experience, organized by Kansas University’s William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications and the Army. It’s funded by the McCormick Foundation.We will be participating in discussions with various officers at Fort Leavenworth, including the fort’s commander, Lt. Gen. William Caldwell.This afternoon we will go to Fort Riley. We’ve been told we will be suited up in combat gear and shown how urban warfare is conducted. No, we won’t be shooting M-16s or M-4s or M-60s. Instead, we will be using paintball guns. We will be wearing protective gear but I’ve been told by people who have played that the balls still sting.Much of this is optional, so considering I’m much older than your average infantry soldier and so very out of shape, I expect to be watching some of this. I will participate until my knees and lungs get overwhelmed, which probably won’t take very long. I also will try to take photographs and video. That immersion into combat training will continue through Tuesday before we return to Fort Leavenworth.I will update you as the week goes on. You probably won’t hear from me before Wednesday or Thursday.