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Partnership Puts Students In An Airborne State Of Minds
by U.S. Army Sgt. Eric-James - May 3, 2013

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JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - Paratroopers from the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, held an airborne operations demonstration day to educate students from Eagle River's Gruening Middle School on the rigors of airborne training here May 16, 2013.

U.S. Army Pfc. Anthony Golden with Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, instructs a student from Gruening Middle School how to safely and properly handle the M249 squad automatic weapon at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson May 16, 2013. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Eric-James Estrada)
U.S. Army Pfc. Anthony Golden with Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, instructs a student from Gruening Middle School how to safely and properly handle the M249 squad automatic weapon at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson May 16, 2013. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Eric-James Estrada)

As part of the JBER School Partnership Program, Gruening Middle School students received classes on how to conduct a proper parachute landing fall, how to wear the parachute, exit an aircraft with a static line, and how to safely hold and operate various Army weapons, such as the M4 carbine at the Airborne Sustainment Training Area.

The program's objective is to provide the surrounding Anchorage, Matanuska-Susitna and Kenai area communities greater exposure to JBER missions and roles the Air Force and Army play in supporting the nation's defense.

“The closer we are to the community, the easier it is for them to understand us and for us to understand them,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Patrick S. Altenburg, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry, 4-25 ABCT, hailing from Cincinnati.

The Gold Geronimo commander expressed the importance about informing and educating children on what it is the military does on a daily basis.

“We have a pretty close relationship with Gruening Middle School. We have some soldiers who go over there and help them,” said Altenburg. “This is our turn to help them and give back to the middle school. Give them a good orientation on what we do.”

Gruening Middle School has a high percentage of military children in attendance making up 70 percent of the student body.

“Gruening has such a high military population and we have a goal to make sure the military feels supported within our school system,” said Loi Luts, a faculty member with Gruening Middle School. “I just think that it's a fabulous way ... to be outside the classroom and learn about resources and facilities that are so close to them.”

By U.S. Army Sgt. Eric-James
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2013

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