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Sixth-Graders Learn Army Life From Soldiers
by U.S. Army 1st Lt. Kat Kaliski - January 27, 2014

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GATESVILLE, Texas – More than 200 sixth-grade students from Gatesville Intermediate School gathered in their cafeteria to kick off their annual career day chaired by Becky Coward, the school's guidance counselor.

Coward secured 22 professionals with varying work backgrounds to speak to the children about their respective careers.

In preparation for the day's events, Coward had each of the children rank their top three professions. The day of, she was able to split them into small groups and move them in a circuit fashion to discuss their top three potential jobs of interest.

One professional area available to the children came from, Capt. Julian Benitezpenuelas, Headquarters and Headquarters Company commander for the 120th Infantry Brigade, Division West. He coordinated for several of his colleagues to attend and speak to the wide-eyed sixth-graders about what it means to be in the U.S. military.

Students from Gatesville Intermediate School look at a M777A2 howitzer while Spc. Matthew Allen with Alpha Battery, Fires Squadron, 3rd Cavarly Regiment, stands by to answer questions during the school's career day in Gatesville, Texas on December 13, 2013. (Photo by Capt. Soutira Graham, 120th Infantry Brigade, Division West Public Affairs)
Students from Gatesville Intermediate School look at a M777A2 howitzer while Spc. Matthew Allen with Alpha Battery, Fires Squadron, 3rd Cavarly Regiment, stands by to answer questions during the school's career day in Gatesville, Texas on December 13, 2013. (Photo by Capt. Soutira Graham, 120th Infantry Brigade, Division West Public Affairs)

To give the kids more contexts, Benitezpenuelas also invited soldiers from Alpha Battery, Fires Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment to give a demonstration on the M777A2 howitzer.

The adolescents asked an array of questions such as, “How big are the bullets [you shoot],” or “Why do you fire so many rounds at night?”

Sgt. 1st Class Edward Mullin, 120th noncommissioned officer, responded with a motto from his specific branch in the Army, the Infantry - “We own the night.” Mullin went on to explain that soldiers must be both proficient at both day and night to be effective.

Capt. Robert Jones, a 120th Infantry officer, addressed a number of the more hard-hitting questions that the children posed regarding training, ammo and equipment.

Capt. Sarah Gilbert, executive officer at one of the 120th battalions, offered insight into the delicate family/work-life balance that many soldiers frequently have to manage.

Benitezpenuelas posed a question to one of the groups, asking what the children might want to do should any of them decide to join the Army.

The answers from the group ranged from tanker, sniper and mechanic.

“This is your day to learn, investigate and explore what you may want to do in the future,” said Coward in her introductory speech for the career day.

The 120th was honored to support the Gatesville Intermediate School.

As part of their community partnership, the school made sure to enlist the assistance of the 120th. Walking down the hallways at the completion of the career day, many of the young children politely thanked the service members for protecting the country.

The 120th visits the Gatesville Intermediate School children on a weekly basis to spend time mentoring them during their lunch hour.

By U.S. Army 1st Lt. Kat Kaliski
120th Infantry Brigade, Division West Public Affairs
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2014

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