Fort Benning leaders show tech in the trenches at FIRST robotics championship

With growing age of assets, modernizing military more important than ever. 

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – By Mikhaela Singleton

“Robotics are not part of the future, they are the now,” says Col. Kurt “Travis” Thompson during a media event at Columbus State University.  “The question is about getting the right mix of the right ones to do things, because our adversaries are absolutely going to be using them to target our soldiers, target our equipment, target our formations.”

“Robotics are not part of the future, they are the now, says COL Kurt “Travis” Thompson

Col. Thompson sits at a table with other Fort Benning leaders at an army tech event across the street from hundreds of high school students pouring in for the F.I.R.S.T. — For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology — robotics championship qualifiers.

It’s Technology Week as part of Fort Benning’s centennial celebrations, and members of the Maneuver Center of Excellence (MCoE) say they thought what better way to show off the innovation of the army than bringing it to the next generation.

“We’re here to encourage them as American kids that science and technology is important to our future and pretty cool, but also to say, ‘Hey look, you can take that passion and apply it in the service of your country,”  says Donald Sando, the Deputy to the Commanding General. “In fact, I may go over and recruit some of them during lunch.”

They won’t have to look far to find 17-year-old Drake Braski, a junior at Columbus High School.  Drake crossed over from the Columbus Space Program booth at the FIRST competition to take a look at another piece of tech he helped put together — the 3-D Printed Sonic Air Flow Air Jet.

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