PRESIDIO OFMONTEREY, Calif. -- Soldiers from B Company, 229th Military Intelligence Battalion participated in a book reading for the children at the Monterey Road Child Development Center and the Porter Youth Center on Ord Military Community.
The reading was from the book, "Sam, the Army Dog," and was used to help the children celebrate the Army's upcoming birthday, June 14. But for Spc. Jordan L. Booker, who was only a few weeks ago a basic trainee, the reading helped him realize much more.
"It's the Army's birthday, and to see these kids that are military kids and the civilians who take care of them act as their [parent] while their [parents] are working or at war is great," he said.
He said it was that type of closeness and dedication that made the children seem disciplined. "The kids were all well behaved [during the reading]," said Booker.
Although just barely out of basic training, the 28-year-old, Reed, Ky.-native already had some experience with children and saw the experience as something he didn't expect.
"When you are in basic training, you think the Army will be the same way, but it isn't," he said. "Getting to see these kids and play with them ... I'm just a big kid myself and that's why I joined," said Booker.
"To play in the mud, shoot guns and run around, all the things kids want to do," he said.
After watching all the mother figures at the youth centers reminded Booker of his inspiration for joining the military. "Mom was my inspiration, my support," he said.
"She was always happy to be working hard for us (Booker comes from a family that includes three brothers and a sister) cooking, sewing and all those things and I think the (value) I got from her was service," Booker said.
Booker also wanted to feel the same way his mother did, so he joined the Army. "I think deep down, I was trying to find some self-respect," he said. "And now I see people can tell I'm in the military," said the University of Kentucky graduate.
"(I) walk with a certain amount of confidence, and the haircut may be a giveaway," he joked. He compared himself to Sam the Army dog, a dog who wanted to serve the Army, but didn't know how he could be of service.
"You don't have to be big and tough, but use the skills you have, just like Sam," Booker said.
This is also the first time Booker has done an activity like this since coming into the military and wants more. "I never thought I'd be doing things like this. It's awesome and I'm looking forward to doing more."