FORT HOOD, Texas - During deployments, homecomings and other events, the public's compassion toward members of the armed forces is appreciated by those that have served. For that reason, giving back to these communities is an important part of what the Army does.
Soldiers from the 62nd Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 11th Signal Brigade, escorted visiting Boy Scouts of America Troop 1077 around Feb. 1-2, 2014 here.
Sgt. 1st Class Luis Molinari, S3 sergeant major, 62nd Expeditionary Signal Battalion, and Sgt. Jason Sanon, 62nd ESB, demonstrate Army marksmanship techniques to the visiting Scouts. Boy Scouts of America Troop 1077 from Dallas, practiced at the Engagement Skills Trainer 2000 here during their tour Feb. 1-2, 2014. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Kelvin Ringold)
During the trip, soldiers showed the Scouts from Dallas around post, and gave them some insight into the Army lifestyle.
Saturday morning started with a tour of Robert Gray Army Airfield where they received a tour of the approach control area, and tower operations. A tour of the airfield interested the kids, and the staff there didn't hesitate to help when called upon.
“All of us at Robert Gray Army Airfield enjoy what we do,” said Tracy Crawford, airfield manager. “We are proud of the airfield, our facilities, and the support that we provide to the soldiers of Fort Hood. We appreciate every opportunity that we have to talk about who we are and what we do with groups visiting Fort Hood.”
Once the tour was over, they were ready for their first meal of the day. In order for them to get a total Army experience, the Scouts were given Meal, Ready-to-Eat packages. These pre-cooked packs contain a variety of meals that only need to be warmed with a provided heat source, and are ready for consumption within minutes.
“It was pretty good,” said Ethan Kaye, assistant patrol leader. “The pork ribs were delicious.”
From there, the boys wanted to see some flight equipment. It was a Saturday, but a team from Company A, 2nd Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, stood ready to greet the boys, and introduce them to the world of aviation.
First Lt. Elisa Hawkins, platoon leader, 1st Lt. Rumeal Lewis, executive officer, and Sgt. Timothy N. LeBar, crew chief, gave the boys an up-close look at some of their choppers. The team was eager to share their knowledge with the troops, and helped put even bigger smiles on their faces.
Having a son in the Cub Scouts made it an easy choice to volunteer today, said LeBar. It feels good seeing the kids come out here and have fun.
Next they experienced the Engagement Skills Trainer 2000. Here, they got the opportunity to test their marksmanship skills in a virtual scenario. The EST 2000 isn't a live-fire exercise, but it is as close as it gets when it comes to replicating small arms engagement skills in the safest manner possible.
The Scouts attempt to qualify on the Engagement Skills Trainer 2000, a virtual marksmanship simulator. Boy Scouts of America Troop 1077 from Dallas practiced at the Engagement Skills Trainer 2000 here during their tour Feb. 1-2., 2014. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Kelvin Ringold)
Even with no basic training skills or previous firing experience under their belts, the Scouts did a great job. Two of them, Camden Voker and Michael Uhrik, even qualified to Army standards and were given marksmanship badges for their efforts.
For their final tour destination Saturday, the Scouts visited the 1st Cavalry Division Museum. Here, they played a scavenger hunt game where clues lead them to different artifacts in the museum.
Before they headed home to Dallas Sunday, Sgt. 1st Class Luis Molinari, S3 sergeant major, 62nd ESB, presented the boys with certificates of appreciation from the battalion.
Traveling with the Scouts was World War II veteran and former signal soldier, Jim Niederer. He received a Fort Hood coin in recognition of his military service. He never got the opportunity to serve at “The Great Place,” and appreciated the opportunity to tour the post.
“I enjoyed seeing all the equipment,” said Niederer. “It's unbelievable how big this place is. You guys have all been so nice and polite to us.”
Jim's son, Scoutmaster Kenneth Niederer, was impressed with the hospitality his Scouts and team were given during the trip.
“We never dreamed we'd have this kind of reception,” said Niederer. “I was really taken aback with how much you guys put into this.”
He also wanted the soldiers to know that their support not only during the trip, but every day, means to them.
“We thank you very much for your service,” said Niederer. “Thank you for your service to the country, and what you've done for us.”
By U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Kelvin Ringold
Provided through DVIDS
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