News: El Paso students learn about the life of a soldier during trip to Bliss
Story by Spc. Jessica Luhrs-Stabile
FORT BLISS, Texas - Smiles were on the face of every child as soon as they saw the soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, “Rifle” 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, standing next to all of their equipment ready to teach more than 50, 2nd-5th graders about the daily life of a soldier.
The students of El Paso’s Sgt. Itruate Elementary School participated in a Partner in Education Field Trip with the “Rifle” soldiers, on East Fort Bliss and Fort Bliss, Texas, Feb. 11.
The field trip was made possible by the Rifle soldiers in conjunction with the leadership and teachers of Sgt. Itruate as a way to reward the students for their hard work in school, according to 1st Lt. Jonathan Malabre, a native of Colorado Springs, Colo., and the Rifle current operations officer in charge.
The field trip began on East Fort Bliss where students were able to ask the Rifle soldiers questions about Fort Bliss and military life.
During that time the students also toured static displays of M1A2 Systems Enhancement Program Abrams Main Battle Tank, M2A3 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle, M1126 Stryker Infantry Carrier, and a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All Terrain Vehicle. Vehicle crews were also present at each vehicle to answer questions and to assist the children who wanted to get into the driver’s seat.
“It was so much fun getting in and out of the tanks being here makes me very proud of my parents,” said one 5th grade student. Both of her parents are currently deployed to Iraq.
The students also had an opportunity to try on the Rifle soldiers body armor, including the Improved Outer Tactical Vest,Kevlar, knee-pads and elbow pads.
“The military is a huge part of El Paso it is good for the children to get insight in what soldiers do every day,” according to Beatrize Garcia, who is an El Paso native and a school counselor with Itruate Elementary School.
Malabre agreed with Garcia and added the field trip also benefited the soldiers.
“The soldiers really enjoyed the interaction with the kids and being able to take the time to share their knowledge of their job,” he said.
Following the static displays tour the students will then enjoyed a Mermite (a heavy duty insulated plastic food container) lunch of hamburgers and hotdogs, with the Rifle soldiers. The lunch was provided by the “Ready First” dining facility.
After lunch the students were treated to popcorn and a movie at the Fort Bliss Freedom Crossing Grand 10 movie theatre. Before the movie the students were divided into groups of 5 and given a team leader which is a soldier from the unit, to enjoy the movie with.
The purpose of the tour is to introduce the students to the different activities at Fort Bliss.
“We want the students to know what is available on Fort Bliss that we have movies, great people and many other things to offer,” said Kristie Blackman, a native of Snowflake, Ariz., and the Rifle Family Readiness Support Assistant.
The Rifle soldiers recently co-sponsored a birthday party at the Lee & Beulah Children’s Home and continue to look for ways to reach out to the El Paso community.
This work, El Paso students learn about the life of a soldier during trip to Bliss, by SPC Jessica Luhrs-Stabile, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.