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Red Dragons Host Waco JROTC Field Trip
by Army Sgt. Quentin Johnson - March 23, 2013

FORT HOOD, Texas – Junior ROTC cadets experienced military operations first hand during a visit to Fort Hood, Texas, March 8.

Waco High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corp Cadets view photos of Medal of Honor recipients in the 1st Cavalry Museum during the WHS JROTC end-of-year field trip hosted by 3rd "Red Dragons" Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, at Fort Hood, Texas, March 8, 2013. (Photo by Army Sgt. Quentin Johnson, 2BCT, 1st Cav Div PAO)
Waco High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corp Cadets view photos of Medal of Honor recipients in the 1st Cavalry Museum during the WHS JROTC end-of-year field trip hosted by 3rd "Red Dragons" Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, at Fort Hood, Texas, March 8, 2013. (Photo by Army Sgt. Quentin Johnson, 2BCT, 1st Cav Div PAO)

Approximately 70 Waco High School students enjoyed their JROTC end-of-year field trip by visiting various sites during the visit hosted by the 3rd “Red Dragons” Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, said retired Command Sgt. Maj. Willie Jones, WHS JROTC senior army instructor.

Cadets were introduced to multiple weapon systems – the M240B machine gun, M249 machine gun, .50-caliber Browning machine gun, artillery equipment, the M109A6 Paladin, M777 Howitzer and M992A2 FA Ammunition Supply Vehicle, 1st Sgt. Marty Kerekes, Red Dragons Battery A first sergeant, explained.

After visiting Red Dragon soldiers, cadets had lunch at the Black Jack Dining Facility followed by a visit to the 1st Cavalry Division Museum, here, Kerekes said.

“(Red Dragons leadership) wanted to give the students a general and fun overall view of military operations,” Kerekes added. “We would like the cadets to take away a sense of pride for themselves, their equipment and uniforms.”

Kerekes said his confidence level in the subject-matter experts at each display was high. He feels the cadets will see the professionalism within his soldiers and want to emulate that in their future.

“The soldiers were great, very professional,” 12th-grader Alfredo De Leon said. “(Soldiers) were very familiar with the equipment and weapons. I have a better understanding of why the military is here and service they provide.”

Having a better understanding of military procedures is good knowledge for cadets, Jones added. Cadets will take that knowledge and apply it to their daily tasks, training and overall discipline.

“Soldiers are the professional influence the cadets need,” Jones added.

Relationships between Red Dragons and WHS were strengthened as well, Jones stated.

Good relations are the reason Fort Hood is a great annual trip for JROTC classes.

“(Red Dragons) have a great working relationship with WHS,” Kerekes said. “Our community relations outreach is stronger with these types of events and carries over into other adopt-a-school and adopt-a-business programs we have.”

Jones said almost 50 percent of his cadets have claimed interest in joining a branch of the U.S. military with several seniors already enlisting into the Army National Guard or Reserves.

“Some are future soldiers and if not, JROTC will make them better citizens,” Kerekes said. “We enjoyed having them here and so did our soldiers.”

The cadets had strong anticipation toward the trip and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, as Jones said, “They will be talking and telling friends about this day for a long time.”

More photos available below

By Army Sgt. Quentin Johnson
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2013

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