News: Americas High School teams up with Thunder Horse Battalion
Local high school students visited with troopers from D Troop, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment to learn about the unit at Dona Ana Range 40 on Friday.
The purpose of the visit was to show students from Americas High School and their naval junior officer training course cadets what the 2-12 Cavalry is capable of during war and what it is like to be a Soldier and to learn about the Abrams tank and its weapons systems, said Sgt. Joe Aguirre, tank gunner.
"We want to show them the tanks and the weapons we have available," Aguirre said. "This gives them a first-hand sight of what it's going to be like if they do it [join the Army]."
The students unloaded from the school bus at 10 a.m., and received a briefing from Sgt. 1st Class Marshall Cowell, rear detachment noncommissioned officer in charge, and Maj. Roger Lemons, battalion executive officer.
The 2-12 CAV has a local partnership with Americas High School and is fostering a relationship with them, said Lemons. "We brought about 40 students from the high school, many are from the junior ROTC department," said Lemons. "We've given them an opportunity to see what goes on at the range first hand."
The students were allowed to climb down into the turret of an Abrams tank and were taught the mechanics and operations of the tank by Staff Sgt. Brent Ingersoll, tank commander.
"I have never seen something like that," said Jorge Nevarez, a 9th grade NJROTC student. "I have seen tanks on the news, but not up close. They have a lot of equipment, very cool," he added.
The students also got to climb to the top of the range tower and watch the tanks fire live rounds during their qualification table.
"It really showed me what America is capable of and how much responsibility comes with that," said Andrea Robertson, a senior at the high school. "I liked going in the tank and seeing how much teamwork it takes and hearing them talk on the radios when I was in the tower."
"We came here to learn about some of the weapons available to the military, specifically tanks," said retired Marine Gunnery Sgt. Frank Rodriguez. "This was a very unique opportunity that was offered by the 2-12 to see the Soldiers doing their thing. It gives the students an opportunity to see how the machinery operates and see how sophisticated the military is."
"The students and Soldiers got along really well," said Lemons. "We want to build bonds with the local community and with the Soldiers and students alike. We intend to foster this relationship and continue to work it. We think it's been a great success out here."