FORT BRAGG, N.C. - A Paratrooper kneels down on the ground while demonstrating how to apply a pressure dressing. He is explaining why it is so important for paratroopers to know how to give first aid to someone wounded, as a child said, “Is this is how you help my daddy if he gets hurt?” The Paratrooper replied with a smile, “Yes.”
Paratroopers assigned to 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, conducted static demonstrations for the staff and children at KinderCare day care center of Fayetteville, N.C., for a community relations event, Sept. 5.
KinderCare receives grants from the Army Child Care in your Neighborhood program and is monitored by the Child, Youth & School Services, and providing child care services off the post for parents in the military allowing easier access and availability.
There were nine children, all preschool aged, waiting as the Paratroopers set up stations of military equipment. They had known about this day for the entire week, and were very excited that the day was finally here.
Stacey Reed, a preschool teacher for KinderCare, said the children had been extremely eager to see the Paratroopers and their equipment. She said, “They have been asking and talking about when the Paratroopers were going to visit.” Stacey said she was looking forward to the day as well, because it was her first time getting hands-on experience with military equipment.
From inside the KinderCare, the kids peered through the window and all they could see was the Humvee, as the Paratroopers could hear their excitement through the glass.
At the first station was an armored humvee with a rotating gun turret on top. Pfc. Sean Kestler, a military police Paratrooper assigned to Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 2/82, said it was good to work with children, and to see how thrilled they were to get inside of the vehicle. Kestler, a native of Charleston, S.C., explained to the children and staff the specifications of the vehicle including how many passengers it can sustain, the average weight of an armored Humvee, and then let the children one a time sit in the Humvee to get a soldier’s view from inside.
The event was also a learning experience for the staff. Kimberly Purdie, the director of KinderCare, said, “It was very interesting seeing the military Humvee and checking out the inside.” She said she had never seen a Humvee up close before, and didn’t realize how cramped it can get with five people inside. The Paratroopers provided the children with a view of what their parents might do while at work, since many of the parents are military.
At the next station was an unmanned aerial vehicle, where the children watched Spc. Reynolds Harley assemble the unmanned aircraft and go through the pre-flight checks. Spc. Jonathan Hooper set up the live video feed with the hand-held remote to allow the children to seem themselves from the remote plane. The unmanned aircraft team talked to the children and staff on how the plane can help Paratroopers during patrols to detect targets during the day or night with the camera system. Harley is a native of Sebring, Fla., and Hooper is from Charlotte, N.C. Both are military policemen assigned to HHC, 2BSTB.
The next stations were demonstrations using hand held radios, and a medic who showed some of the first aid items available to Paratroopers. The children were able to talk to each other using the hand-held radios with the help of Sgt. Renald Thompson and Pvt. Daylos Hawkins, Paratroopers assigned to HHC Company, 2BCT. “The children were very fascinated to be able to hear the voices of the each other from across the parking lot,” said Thompson, who is a forward signal support noncommissioned officer and Hawkins is a signal support specialist for the Brigade. Thompson explained to the children how soldiers use the radios to communicate with each other. Thompson is from Mauston, Wis., and Hawkins is a native of Washington, D.C.
Spc. Paul Mampreian, a line medic assigned to HHC Company, 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2BCT, set up the medic station to allow the children to view some of the different items he carries in his medic bag. He demonstrated an emergency pressure dressing on Hawkins. A native of Chicago, Mampreian explained to the staff and children how important it is for all Paratroopers to be proficient with the first aid equipment.
At the last station, Spc. Adam Hesley donned a parachute, reserve parachute a ruck and all the protective gear needed in order to properly exit a high performance aircraft. Hesley, an infantry specialist assigned to HHC, 2BCT, explained the different parts of the parachute system and the procedures conducted inside of the aircraft during an airborne operation. He explained how a Paratrooper puts on the parachute and about the weight of all the equipment is once it is on. With all his equipment on, some of the kids wanted to know how he would be able to walk around.
Breaune Rice, the assistant director of KinderCare, said she has never seen a Paratrooper wearing all of his parachute gear before, and the demonstration was very educational. She said the Humvee was very compact inside compared to the size of the vehicle.
“We really appreciate the Army coming out and spending their time with the children, they will not forget this,” said Stacey Reed.
The 2nd Brigade Combat Team is able to deploy anywhere in the world in short time, but when the Brigade is not deployed, Paratroopers and their families play a major role in the community. They shop at the local stores, enroll their children in the local schools, are employed by the local businesses and help supporting the economy. As being part of the local community of Fayetteville, the Brigade strives to strengthen the relationship by conducting relationship events like visiting a day care center.