Soldier Gives Father, Student's Flight Line Tour
October 10, 2008
<b> FORT STEWART, GA </b> -- Standing in front of a large group of middle-school students last Friday Sgt. Stanford Smith Horne, Jr., was not in his element.
"It was the first time I ever spoke in front of a group," said the combat veteran and Chinook crewmember with Company B, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment. "I was a bit nervous."
But in this case, Horne felt the effort was worth a little discomfort. The kids were visiting the Hunter Army Airfield flight line from Tutt Middle School, Augusta, Ga., and they were being led by Stanford Smith Horne, Sr., Sgt. Horne's father.
The senior Horne, a math teacher at Tutt Middle School, had brought the group of kids to a 4-H function on Tybee Island during the week.
"He had some time to kill," said Sgt. Horne, "so he called me up to see if he could get the kids out here to see the helicopters."
Horne talked to his unit's chain of command and got the go ahead to give the kids a tour. When the children arrived, Horne gave them a quick overview of the Chinook's capabilities and they were then broken up into smaller groups and led by Co. B crew chiefs and pilots to the aircraft on the flight line.
From there, the kids learned about the various parts and pieces, and abilities of the Chinook helicopters. Many of these kids, Horne said had never had the opportunity to do something like this.
"I think it's really cool," said Elana Wilson, a Tutt Middle School student. "Getting to go in the helicopters and seeing how they work is cool."
Another Tutt Middle School student, Keeyon Scott was equally impressed. While the kids were learning about the Chinooks, other helicopters were cranking up, taxiing and taking off at the airfield. He said his favorite part of the visit was looking up close at the aircraft and watching the others take off.
To Horne, creating that spark in the kids' imaginations is what it's all about.
"It gives you a good feeling that maybe you can give them something positive, something to look forward to," said Horne. "They don't get the chance to do stuff like this all the time."
This was the first time a group of kids from his father's school had visited him at his work, but Horne, born and raised in Augusta, had gone to his father's class and talked to the students before.
This was also the first time Horne had gotten to see first hand where his son works. Sgt. Horne's grandfather was an airborne officer in the Army and Horne said the retired Lt. Col. would have been very proud of the young noncommissioned officer.
"It's great to come out here and see this," Horne said. "That's what's amazing to me, him being this brave to do something like this."
To ask Sgt. Horne though, a Soldier who has been on countless combat missions, from air assault missions to cargo transport, the bravest thing he's ever done is speak in front of the kids at the beginning of the tour. The connection with his father was a very nice fringe benefit.
"It made me feel proud of myself," he said. "To show him that I actually made something of myself. To give him something to be proud of in his son."