• Spc. Elijah Cavazos and Sgt. 1st Class Sandra Hocking of the 470th Military Intelligence Brigade show two teachers from Bowden Elementary School how to release the bolt on an M4 rifle. The Engagement Skills Trainer 2000 at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston allowed school staff and teachers to experience firing the weapon in a realistic simulation May 9 as a team-building event. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Sammy Rosado)

    Bolt Release

    Spc. Elijah Cavazos and Sgt. 1st Class Sandra Hocking of the 470th Military Intelligence Brigade show two teachers from Bowden Elementary School how to release the bolt on an M4 rifle. The Engagement Skills Trainer 2000 at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort...

  • Capt. Garrett Gatzemeyer, 470th Military Intelligence Brigade Headquarters and Headquarters Company commander, explains an aspect of the M4 rifle to a teacher from Bowden Elementary School. The Engagement Skills Trainer 2000 at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston allowed school staff and teachers to experience firing the weapon in a realistic simulation May 9 as a team-building event. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Sammy Rosado)

    Explaining Aspect

    Capt. Garrett Gatzemeyer, 470th Military Intelligence Brigade Headquarters and Headquarters Company commander, explains an aspect of the M4 rifle to a teacher from Bowden Elementary School. The Engagement Skills Trainer 2000 at Joint Base San...

  • Soldiers of the 470th Military Intelligence Brigade help Bowden Elementary School teachers and staff prepare to engage in simulated M14 rifle shooting. The team-building event took place in the Engagement Skills Trainer 2000 at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston May 9. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Sammy Rosado)

    Preparing to Engage

    Soldiers of the 470th Military Intelligence Brigade help Bowden Elementary School teachers and staff prepare to engage in simulated M14 rifle shooting. The team-building event took place in the Engagement Skills Trainer 2000 at Joint Base San...

  • Elementary school staff and teachers receive some pointers from 470th Military Intelligence Brigade Soldiers as they prepare to open simulated M4 rifle fire at simulated enemy Soldiers. The team-building event took place in the Engagement Skills Trainer 2000 at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston May 9. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Sammy Rosado)

    M4 Pointers

    Elementary school staff and teachers receive some pointers from 470th Military Intelligence Brigade Soldiers as they prepare to open simulated M4 rifle fire at simulated enemy Soldiers. The team-building event took place in the Engagement Skills...

  • A Bowden Elementary School teacher watches for a simulated enemy soldier to emerge from the simulated terrain while a real Soldier of the 470th Military Intelligence Brigade watches her. School staff and teachers took part in a team-building event at the Engagement Skills Trainer 2000 at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston May 9. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Sammy Rosado)

    Watching and Waiting

    A Bowden Elementary School teacher watches for a simulated enemy soldier to emerge from the simulated terrain while a real Soldier of the 470th Military Intelligence Brigade watches her. School staff and teachers took part in a team-building event at...

As part of their continuing partnership with nearby Bowden Elementary School, Soldiers from the 470th Military Intelligence Brigade gave 32 of its teachers and staff members a taste of military training earlier this month.

Since school began last year, volunteers from the brigade's headquarters and headquarters company have visited the school on a weekly basis to mentor students. However, on May 9, the Soldiers introduced the school's adults to a weapon firing simulation on Fort Sam Houston as a team-building exercise.

"The intent of the training was to let them experience something together -- an experience they could share as a team," said Sgt. 1st Class Sandra Hocking, who has been coordinating activities between the school and the brigade volunteers.

Twelve Soldiers took the team to the Engagement Skills Trainer (EST) 2000, a laser-based simulator that provides shooters with a simulated shooting experience that attempts to replicate a weapon's sound, weight and recoil as shooters fire at targets in various terrain scenarios.

"During the team-building event, Soldiers taught the teachers some of the basics of how to shoot the M4 Military Assault Rifle, including how to hold the weapon and how to eject and reload magazines," Hocking related. "The EST 2000 staff then ran the teachers through two team training scenarios in which they were tasked to shoot approaching enemy soldiers."

Hocking said that although many of their guests had never held a rifle before, they experimented with various shooting positions and firing modes with brigade Soldiers providing assistance as needed. When the shooting stopped, the EST 2000 instructor read the scores aloud.

One teacher who had weapons experience said she still enjoyed the simulation.

"Being a veteran, I was familiar with the gear, but I feel that it was a great opportunity for our team and school to work together as one unit," said Head Start teacher Neomi Serros. "I am also glad we got to work with equipment that the courageous defenders of our country work with."

Jane Cunningham, a first-grade teacher, got insight into her grandson's training.

"He is graduating from basic training," she said. "It was enlightening to experience just a small example of what he has been doing and learning."

Marlene Alonso, a fourth-grade teacher, termed the team-building activity "awesome."

"As teachers we often think we have the hardest job in the world," she said. "But putting ourselves in the role of a Soldier was a real eye-opener."

Page last updated Tue May 28th, 2013 at 00:00