Family and friends battled windy, chilly weather to fill every seat at Fort Jackson Wednesday morning to watch 832 soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment, graduate from basic training. Among the graduates were 33 soldiers who participated in the Army’s Future Soldier Preparatory Course (FSPC) that began at the installation in August.

Basic training graduates Pvt. Brandon McNeil,18, Pvt. Michael Perez,30, Pvt. Jade Doran,17, and Pvt. Elysette Ortiz, 19, were among the first future soldiers to pass the course successfully, and all agreed that the program helped prepare them for the Army.

The FSPC is designed to provide future soldiers with an opportunity to overcome academic and physical challenges.

According to Fort Jackson officials, recruits with an Armed Services Voluntary Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) score between 42-49 may be allowed to voluntarily participate in both a fitness and academic track before basic combat training. Recruits with an ASVAB score of 21-30 may only participate in the academic track. Trainees in the fitness program will ship to basic training once their body fat composition percentage is no more than 2% above the standard based on gender, age, and height/weight. Individuals in both tracks are projected to remain in the FSPC for a maximum of 90 days, with opportunities every three weeks to leave the program and ship to basic training if they meet or exceed the Army’s desired accession standards.

Individuals looking to enlist under the academic track of the Future Soldier Preparatory Course must possess a high school diploma or equivalent, achieve a test score of 21-30 on the AGQT, pass the Military Entrance Processing Station physical, and not require a waiver for major misconduct.

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