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'Warhorse' Soldiers and Students
Celebrate 'Proud To Be An American Day'

by Army Sgt. Omar Estrada - June 2, 2012

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Spc. Devon Harbin an infantryman assigned to 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, holds hands with Logan Ferguson and Jade Groth, both first-grade students at Miller Heights Elementary school during their “Proud to be an American Day” parade, May 18, 2012, in Belton, Texas. Photo by Army Sgt. Omar Estrada
Spc. Devon Harbin an infantryman assigned to 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, holds hands with Logan Ferguson and Jade Groth, both first-grade students at Miller Heights Elementary school during their “Proud to be an American Day” parade, May 18, 2012, in Belton, Texas. Photo by Army Sgt. Omar Estrada

 FORT HOOD, Texas (5/18/2012) - Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division and Miller Heights Elementary School in Belton, Texas, celebrated “Proud to be an American Day,” May 18, 2012, at the school grounds through the Adopt-a-School Program

“Today's event will be great, we have the best "Warhorse" ambassadors which have good social skills and are well informed of the program we are working under. Soldiers are here today to give 110 percent,” said Staff Sgt. Joseph Cadriel, a platoon sergeant with Alpha Company.

The Adopt-a-School Program teams brigade and battalion sized military units with local schools and designates soldiers to work with principals, teachers and students to perform activities that increase public awareness of the Army's mission and to foster good relations with the local communities and schools.

As part of the Adopt-a-School Program, 3rd Bn., 8th Cav. Regt., Miller Heights students, parents and teachers gathered at the school parking lot for a day full of events and static displays provided by the ‘Warhorse' Battalion.

The schedule of events for the day were: a high school drill team demonstration, the raising of the United States and Texas flags by three ‘Warhorse' soldiers and two students, the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by the school choir, the Texas anthem and pledge of allegiance from all of the students rounded off with a fly over provided by the Air Force.

This was followed by a hayride and parade through the local neighborhood escorted by two vehicles from the city of Belton Police Department.

Neighbors gathered outside their houses to wave at the passing kids and shake soldiers hands to let them know how thankful they were for what troops have done to keep our country safe and free.

Soldiers had the opportunity to socialize with students from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade during the parade.

“He is my friend. I like him,” said Logan Ferguson a 7-year-old student in the first grade, “I want to be in the Army like him,” as he lifted one of the Soldier's hands.

After the parade, kids feasted on a healthy lunch provided by the school. When their lunch break ended, the students rotated between classes and their main interest was to meet with the Cavalry Troopers of the “Greywolf” brigade, where soldiers had military gear and equipment for kids to try out and wear, as well as a Light Medium Tactical Vehicle and two humvees for them to ride in.

“I feel like an older brother to them. I want to be at my best at this moment and be a role model for these kids because they look up to me like a hero,” said Spc. Devon Harbin, an infantryman assigned to 3rd Platoon.

The school will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year and the principal looks forward to working with and having more support from the 3rd Bn., 8th Cav. Regt., through the Adopt-a-School program.

“This is a very effective program where we have a direct connection with Fort Hood and the particular units that are willing to help us in many different ways,” said Deena Cormblum, the principal for Miller Heights Elementary School.

By Army Sgt. Omar Estrada
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2012

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