A look inside Vermont National Guard training camp

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JERICHO, Vt. "I love my country and if I can do anything to serve it, I will," said Frankie Graves.

That's why 16 year old Frankie Graves spent his Saturday at the Ethan Allen Camp in Jericho for the first annual open training day.

"I think it's important for them to see what we do," said Sgt. Kregg Kittell of the Vermont National Guard.

Vermont National Guard soldiers loaded and fired heavy duty mortars for about 100 guests throughout the day. It's one of a dozen demonstrations visitors had the chance to check out.

"A lot of times you see the quick five to 10 second commercials with the music playing, you don't see the system behind it," said Sgt. Kittell.

Sgt. Kregg Kittell has served in the national guard for 12 years -- he says having interested civilians witness what they do is vital for recruitment.

According to officials, the Vermont National Guard currently has about 3,500 soldiers. In recent years the guard hasn't met recruitment goals due to the possibility of long-term deployments. They lose any where between 300 to 400 each year to retirement or discharge.
Last October, they recruited 282 and hope events like this will attract more.

"I think the main reason I came here today was to experience more and see what I could get out of it," said Graves.

Graves says he plans to sign up for the Vermont National Guard the day he turns 17.