News: ‘Duke’ soldiers partner with local middle school
Story by Sgt. Thomas Duval
FORT KNOX, Ky. - When Spc. Lawrence Claypool joined the Army, he came to grips with having to deploy to unknown locations. However, he never envisioned he would find himself on a mission quite like the one on May 22.
Claypool and a team of soldiers from the 6th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division partnered with Bluegrass Middle School in Elizabethtown, Ky., for a field day.
During the organized event, the Fort Knox-based soldiers teamed up with the students to play a variety of team activities such as kickball and football.
“This was a great opportunity to come out and show the kids and the public that we are people just like them,” said Claypool. “It’s an excellent event and a lot of fun.”
Claypool, who was selected to support the 6th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, rear operations team, said he has learned a lot from the kids and plans to use those lessons as he gets ready to be a father himself.
As a son of a military careerist, Tracy Arflin, a seventh-grade math teacher at Bluegrass Middle School, understands how important having a good relationship with the community can be: especially during a time when deployments are routine.
“The more we can cooperate and work together the more we can understand one another,” said Arflin. “As teachers we wanted to get the kids out and moving and this was a great opportunity to do that and build on the partnership.”
Arflin, whose dad served two tours to Vietnam, spent time at Fort Knox as a military child and remembers when there wasn’t much time to build relationships between soldiers and the outlying communities because of short dwell times and mission requirements.
“When I went to Fort Knox High School in the '70s, it was a big deal if you stayed at one high school for all four years,” Arflin explained. “My father was moving every 18 months, but now that you guys are hanging around a little longer, it makes it easier to build a relationship.”
That relationship is one that both Claypool and Arflin look forward to expanding as school starts back up in August.