TEMPLE, Texas – Third, fourth and fifth graders at Pirtle
Elementary School got to learn about a few jobs in the Army and don
Army gear as part of the school's annual career day April 24, 2015.
Soldiers from the school's partnered unit, 2nd Battalion, 5th
Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry
Division, spoke to students about serving in the Army as an
infantryman, a cavalry scout, a tank crewman, a chemical,
biological, radiological and nuclear specialist, and a few other
“I wanted to give back and see a different side of
things,” said Sgt. Anthony Caldwell, an infantry team leader with
Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2-5 CAV. “Talking with the
students and helping them try on our gear was really fun. They were
very perceptive and had lots of questions.”
native talked to students about the role of the infantry and brought
along interceptor body armor and a fully-packed ruck sack for
students to try on.
Sgt. Anthony Caldwell passes around an advanced combat helmet April 24, 2015 during career day at Pirtle Elementary in Temple, Texas. Caldwell, an infantry team leader with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, spoke about being an infantryman in the U.S. Army with third, fourth and fifth-graders at the school. The battalion is partnered with the elementary school as part of the Fort Hood Adopt-a-School program. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Keith Anderson)
The cavalry battalion is partnered with the school
through the III Corps and Fort Hood Adopt-a-School Program.
School officials said the partnership is beneficial for
students from military families and civilian families.
“We have a lot of children in the school from military
families, and having Soldiers come out to the school helps
those students connect to the school and community, but for
our students that have no connection to the military,
Soldiers are good role models and help encourage academic
success,” said Pamela Nieves, Pirtle Elementary School
Christy Sharum, school counselor, said
that many students see Soldiers as heroes, but meeting them
in person adds a new dimension.
“Just because they're
heroes doesn't mean they're not fun,” said Sharum. “It's an
educational process. Students got to talk and ask questions
and try on equipment, and learned that there are many
different jobs, and regular people, working in the
Sgt. Quashawn Johnson, a CBRN specialist
with HHC, 2-5 CAV, got big reactions from the students when
he donned the protective mask and joint service integrated
suit technology for the students.
“They think I'm
Darth Vader,” said Johnson, a native of Hertford, North
Carolina. “I think they thought it was pretty cool to try on
Students heard from many other speakers
at the Pirtle Elementary School career day, including a
nurse, a youth pastor, a police officer with a police dog, a
sports reporter, and a storyteller, but the 2-5 CAV Soldiers
were a tough act to follow.
“I think students were
very engaged with the Soldiers; lots of equipment to see and
touch,” said Catherine Eamma, a student teacher at the
Staff Sgt. Nith Keo, Adopt-a-School
coordinator, 2-5 CAV, said that, over the past year, more
than 80 Soldiers in the battalion got the opportunity to
participate in the Adopt-a-School program with Pirtle
Elementary, amassing more than 200 volunteer hours.
“We've served as mentors, coaches and assisted the school
with many events,” said Keo, a native of St. Petersburg,
Florida. “The program has had a strong impact on all of us,
and, from the feedback I've gotten from teachers, school
staff members, students and parents, we have made a positive
contribution at the school.”
Keo said that
volunteering is a rewarding experience.
always enjoy volunteering with the school because it gives
them a sense of purpose to contribute to the local
community,” said Keo. “It takes them out of everyday
training to get to spend some time with some amazing
children and do something really meaningful.”
Community programs like the Adopt-A-School program are
important to Army, and Soldiers are encouraged to volunteer,
Soldiers can earn volunteers hours for all
off-duty volunteering, and should register in the
Volunteer Management Information System and input
volunteer hours, he said.
“This give Soldiers the
opportunity to earn volunteer awards, such as the Military
Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, and the opportunity to
be recognized as the Fort Hood Volunteer of the Month,” said
By U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Keith Anderson
Comment on this article