News: High School visits Cavalry Special Troops Battalion
Students from Horizon High School visited with their military sponsor, the Special Troops Battalion, to learn about life in the Army at Long Knife Village May 17.
"This is a field trip for the students," said retired Lt. Col. Ken Osmond, senior Army instructor for the high school. "This battalion is hosting the trip so the students can meet the Soldiers and learn about Army equipment. We're bringing out two groups: 90 students today and 80 students tomorrow. They are always curious about the military and this is the perfect opportunity."
The STB arranged for the students, all part of the school's Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, to be rotated through five stations during their visit.
One of those stations was with the food service platoon. There, the students learned about meals ready-to-eat and the operation of the mobile kitchen, said Pfc. Michael Hayslett, food service specialist. "We showed them how much MREs have improved over the years and how long it takes to set up the mobile kitchen and how many people it takes to run one," he said.
Also available to talk to the kids was Sgt. Andre Ward, food service sergeant. "I'm showing the kids there is more to military food service than cooking in the field and at the dining facility," said Ward. "I have a display for them that has awards and medals I have won in culinary arts competitions and for being named Chef of the Quarter. There's a lot of money to be made as a chef outside the military. We want the kids to know we can train them."
Another of the stations was manned by members of the military police platoon. There, they were taught the mission of MPs, the weapons they use and the five functions of MPs, said Spc. Matthew Leininger, MP. "The five functions are handling enemy prisoners of war, movement and mobility, area security, police intelligence and law and order," he explained. "We also went over the M9 Beretta, the M4, M249, M240B, Mark 19 and M2 50 caliber."
"I have an uncle who is an MP," said 10th grade student Jose Ponce, 16. "I always wanted to be a cop on the police department. I found out about MPs in the Army about two years ago and now that's what I want to do. I've always wanted to come here and learn about what the military does. I'm having a good time."
After meeting the unit's police officers, they went inside the battalion tactical operations center to view the final three stations. The first station inside the TOC was the combat medical section to explain their job both in a garrison environment and while on the battlefield. Students were shown the various types of medical equipment available. One of the pieces of equipment was called an extractor. It is used to pull poison out of the body from a bug or snake bite. Some of the other tools the students were shown were IV bags, litters for carrying wounded troops, bandages and a tourniquet.
"I want to be an Army nurse," said 11th-grader Anabel Dominguez, 17. "I came here to explore what the Army is about. I didn't think Soldiers were going to explain and show us things. I thought we were just going to drive around and look at things. I think being an Army nurse will be more hands-on and I'll get to travel. There are better opportunities with the Army," she said.
When the students entered the center of the TOC they were taught what goes on inside the battalion command post center by Cpl. Lorenzo Cortez, infantryman. He explained the battalion staff's jobs, maps and overlays and the importance of communication across the battlefield.
"This is where the commander and command sergeant major communicate on the battlefield to move their troops safely," said Cortez. "Communications come in from other battalions, squads and brigades. The radio operator has to know what he is doing. It's the most stressful job for a Soldier in here. Everything coming in has to be recorded on the commander's critical information board."
The final stop was with Sgt. Scott Precop, battalion operations non-commissioned officer. They were shown all of the individual equipment that Soldiers carry with them. "This is all the equipment that the Army gives us for our basic Soldier needs," said Precop. Everything from the new Army combat uniform and helmet to knee and elbow pads, the three part sleeping bag, goggles, first aid kit, boots, cold and wet weather gear, the assault bag and the field pack.
Ward said having a partnership with the school is great. "It's good to pass on information to the students," said Ward. "When they graduate, they need to think about their futures. The Army is one of their options."
Leininger agreed with Ward and said it's good to meet the people of the community because it reminds him who he is protecting. "It's good to know who we are defending and it's good for them to see we are the best trained Army in the world. It lets the students know we're not just mindless robots like the TV portrays us to be-we're regular people with regular jobs."
The field trip to the post also took the kids to the museums and Old Fort Bliss. "I retired 12 years ago," said Osmond. "It's remarkable to see all of the progress the Army has made. The Soldiers are professional, confident and knowledgeable about their jobs and equipment. This stop was the highlight of their trip."