Ft. Gordon Youth Challenge Academy class cancelled

| January 18, 2023

Military.com reports that on the third day of a youth academy  sponsiored by the Georgia Guard, things got a bit out of hand last October:

A massive brawl broke out on a parade ground at Fort Gordon in Augusta one afternoon last fall, when about 70 teenage recruits of the Georgia National Guard’s Youth Challenge Academy slugged it out. Some used homemade weapons, including metal shanks, crudely sharpened toothbrushes and tube socks filled with metal padlocks.

Tube socks? Really?

Within 24 hours of the brawl, a second melee involving more than two dozen teenagers broke out in one of the barracks and senior military leaders shut down the five-month boot camp in its first week, sending all 170 cadets home and barring them from Fort Gordon for a year.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution lays the blame on the program administrators (who, it should be noted, blame the out of control kids.)

Leaders rushing to meet a new enrollment quota last fall skipped their normal vetting process. That led to a failure to properly screen recruits for behavioral and mental health challenges, leaving the program’s small staff with the task of dealing with uncooperative and violent youths who were only later determined to be “high-risk” candidates, the AJC investigation found.

Problems with the Fort Gordon camp began immediately when large numbers of unscreened applicants showed up at a public park pavilion in Martinez for orientation on Oct. 10, creating confusion, long lines and delays.

Lines snaked out of the building as parents tried to fill out forms and students had their bags inspected for contraband.

“The word of the day describing the intake process was: chaos,” staffers wrote in an after-action review obtained via open records request.

Camp Director Jarvise Reid later said she had orders to increase the number of applicants, even if it meant not screening until they got on campus. In an Oct. 25 email to Wallace Steinbrecher, state director of the Youth Challenge Academy, Reid said that meant they let students in without reviewing “critical documents” about their backgrounds.

Now this is starting to sound like an old, old song. Maybe it should be entitled SSDD?

Fort Gordon’s YCA program has had its own history of trouble, the AJC has learned. Incident reports for the past two years detail massive fights, violent outbursts and serious mental health issues among cadets requiring the intervention of military police, ambulances or both, including:

  • A fight in March 2021 involving approximately 38 cadets in two different platoons. Some of the teens arrived at the fight swinging socks with padlocks inside. Two cadets and two adults were injured, according to the report.
  • A fight on Dec. 26, 2021 between a large group of male and female students required military police and ambulances. Eleven students were taken to the hospital.
  • A fight in April 2022 between a half-dozen female cadets escalated into girls “flipping chairs, turning over ironing boards, grabbing irons and running out” of the barracks, according to the report. Staff again were forced to call the MPs to quell the fracas.
  • A fight last September between two male cadets ended with one throwing a softball-sized rock at another, fracturing his jaw.

Bring ’em in. Increase numbers. Doesn’t matter what they have done, if they are willing to be there run ’em through the process. Sounds like the mid ’70s calling? I shared a room with a kid when we were both delayed by a day entering: me to the Army waiting for a college transcript, him for the court record of his conviction. You do not want to know what for. But I hope he made a magnificent Marine.

Kids now? Not sure the serious gang-bangers and fringe kids are salvageable, sad to say. Their parenting?  Let’s just say that while I support guns, some people should NOT  own them – and some parents should have their kids removed and undergo immediate sterilization.

Category: National Guard, Schools

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I agree with your assessment of these youts. Sounds like they enrolled a bunch of hoodrats from Atlanta. Ditto on the sterilization of the parents. Interesting that these “cadets” had shanks.




Improving the hood rats is it’s mission. These aren’t recruits it’s a scared strait by the NG program.

It is the YCA Foundation’s mission to educate the public, the media and Congress, and others at the state and national level on the positive impact the Georgia National Guard Youth Challenge Program is having on the lives of “at-risk” youth. We also provide scholarships and higher education assistance for the Georgia National Guard Youth Challenge Program graduates and provide financial assistance to the Youth Challenge Program cadets on an urgent need basis. YCA Foundation encourages local officials, civic


They’re hoping this… and remember what happened:


“girls “flipping chairs, turning over ironing boards”

Now that I would love to have seen.

Hack Stone

Hack Stone had to wait an extra twenty minutes until they finished making his samwich.


Ironing boards and irons…glad they know their place.

Seriously though, many years back I witnessed several formations of the MD Challenge Academy on Edgewood. I’d watch these kids fall out for formation and think to myself, if these kids wanted to, they could fuck up the cadre without much problem.


The “warm body time” hollow force or Task Force Smith, here we come… don’t forget to whine about “diversity” and feelings!
comment image


Midnight Basketball and Lawn Darts would have fixed any issues.

Hack Stone

Hey, we fucked up raising our kids for 17 years. We are going to dump them on you, and let you straighten them out.


Just like the Russkies… as the Wagner Group leader encouraged “em: “Don’t drink a lot, don’t do drugs, don’t rape women.”


Wait, what was the 2nd thing again?


I’m sure they did all three over in Ukraine anyway.


Most likely concurrently.


The Amish get the crazies from the 5G signal.

Hack Stone

Fortunately for us, This Ain’t Hell was able to secure video of the melee.


The big girl running up the stairs………

Veritas Omnia Vincit

Your story about the 70s rings far too accurate for me…January 1978 Fort Dix first formation….while we’re standing there being told what to expect from basic training 3 New Jersey State trooper cars pull up and come over and take 2 guys out formation, handcuff them, and drive away….armed robbery was the rumor…never knew for sure…

We lost about a dozen more before graduation as their warrants slowly caught up with them…


When I was at Ft. Bragg, same thing happened from a transfer from Germany after the first weekend he was there. He had gone down to Columbia, SC over the weekend, hooked up with his old buddies and particpated in a drive-by shooting/ murder. They immediately rolled on him.

Veritas Omnia Vincit



Back in the 1960s, MP AIT was at Ft Gordon. Sounds like it should be there again- lots of opportunities for hands-on training.


LOLS… the testimonials. You can not make this shit up.


“Since graduating from the Milledgeville Youth ChalleNGe Academy in October 2017, Devon has been a cook at Waffle House and has steadily increased his start pay of $7.25 to $10.25 per hour.”

“Thanks to Youth ChalleNGe, Sharrieff feels that he certainly dodged the bullet of incarceration.”

“I love this place. My son was going to end up dead or in jail before attending YCA.”

“I’m happy that my daughter agreed to go to YCA and be away from all family and friends.”

Some may require context; but damn. If you think your kid is going to certainly going to end up dead or in jail, there is nowhere to go but up.

Hack Stone

“I love this place. My son was going to end up dead or in jail before attending YCA. Instead, he is just in a dead end job.”

Seriously though, give him props for having a real job, but hopefully he is using this opportunity to develop a work ethic that will inspire him to improve his skills and move up to a job that will be able to support him and his family. He doesn’t want to be one of the many that are still earning minimum wage at the age of 45.


Better than some 45 year olds who are still living off their Mommy and Daddy’s Retirement or Social Security checks..


Nothing wrong about working at a Waffle House.

At least the guy is working.


A Former Waffle House Employee…

BTW, our attitude is NOT everyone WANTS to Climb Up a Corporate Ladder. Some folks are happy doing what they want to do.



I’m one of the happy there with what I am doing guys (at least for another year or so).

My point was more along the lines of the starting material is pretty rough. Literally anything positive is an improvement.

Hack Stone

True, but there are some out there perfectly content frying chicken for 30 years, but believe that based off of longevity, their entry level job should be compensating them at $80,000 per year. The takeaway is that if you don’t want to be 50 years old earning minimum wage, learn some skills that pay more than minimum wage.


Everything you and 5JC makes sense..

Thank You both for the feedback.

Written with sincerity and not sarcasm.


The irony of this story being posted on TAH today is that there is another post about Men having Vasectomies…


I think those were liberals, Ninja, not really men.

Green Thumb

We have the makings of a good Infantry Battalion here….


Maybe these candidates suck at life as teenagers which in turn means they will suck at life as adults. Parents rushing to fill out paperwork seems to me like they wanted to shove the problem of raising the little shitheads off on the Army.


The story you are about to read is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent, but none of them can be found:

August, 2004. I’m a student at 25W ANCOC, Fort Gordon. My class is selected to conduct an APFT for the YCA. We’re warned by our small group leader to watch out for the young females in this program, roughly 14-18 years of age. His warning was not nearly strong enough. I was offered sexual favors in exchange for a passing grade, things that I actually had look up on the innertubes.

Good times. And no, I did not partake.

Last edited 1 year ago by SFC D

You missed your chance at visiting beautiful Kings Bay for free.


Well, you survived Bagram when there was
NOTHING there.


21 years ago. Wow…

Does this look familiar, SFC D?

Thanks for taking care of all of us at the beginning of OEF.



Yeah, I recognize that! Still my all-time favorite deployment. And you’re welcome


Same with us.

Baghdad was a bit more “City” developed…Not Bagram.

Kabul? Yes…

We still wander what ever happened to our Interpreters and Babajan…

Will give you 3 guesses who one of the Officer is in this story…




I remember all the kids that used to pass down Disney drive on their way to school, especially the girls that were so excited to be able to go to school. We donated a pile of pencils and paper. They all had hope for a while.


👍👍👍👍👏👏👏👏👌👌👌👌 on the kids….

Just found out what happened to Babajahn and his nephew. Not good.

I still have the photos that Associated Press took that day as part of that article. 20 years later, I now feel comfortable showing others that article with the pictures.

BTW, we watched during Christmas “It’s A Wonderful Life…” so you know what we were thinking…




So many got their wings…😉

Last edited 1 year ago by SFC D

Looked the same in 2012- 2013.


I hear ya– grew up in a similar setting not being one of those riff-raff. Thank you, no, girls. Wages o’ sin suck.

Last edited 1 year ago by Anonymous
Slick Goodlin

Adage from my wise old Sergeant Major:

“People expect the Army to do in 8 weeks….what the parents, the priests and the cops couldn’t do in 18 years.


Now, it’s 9! We can do it today– diversity, inclusion and “woke” identity self-esteem! (Ta-nehisi Coates and Drag Queen Story Hour promise, comrade!)

Last edited 1 year ago by Anonymous
President Elect Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH Neande

Sounds like the entry level cannon fodder for the Emperor’s Sardaukar troops.


Jim Strieter

When I was a brig chaser back in the 60’s, we had a female recruit US from GLakes. She had been diagnosed as ‘mentality, moraly (sic), and physically depraved. All of use
fought each other for the privilege of escorting her back. I lost and a senior petty officer got the job, alone , which was a mistake. He stopped for the night and he became a very junior seaman because of her mental, physical and morales.


YCA. Just have the NG do what parents, family, schools and prisons should be doing, to keeps the Yutes out of the “prison pipeline.”

Last edited 1 year ago by cobrakai99
jeff LPH 3 63-66

Keep them in as long as they can take names and kick in combat. Just leave the ironing boards in the barracks.


The only way for me to drive risk to zero in that program is to not have it…” Sounds like a plan to me. You can only help those that want to help themselves.



It should have ended:

Then soldiers were sent in, demonstrating what organized disciplined violence can accomplish, as they whacked the unruly but amateur mob into submission.

No lethal weapon? Whack low. Lethal weapon? Whack as needed. Avoid headshots, generally.

Call it a missed opportunity for riot training and oh so needed consequence training.

Oh so desperately needed.