Boot:
Fifth-grader Destiny Perry does the low crawl Nov. 4 at Dexter Elementary.

FORT BENNING, Ga. - More than 240 Dexter Elementary School students attended "boot camp" Nov. 4 in honor of the school's 40th year. The camp featured activities similar to those MAJ Herbert J. Dexter, the school's namesake, likely encountered at Fort Benning in the 1950s. Kids spent the afternoon doing sprints, jumping jacks, low crawls, guerrilla drills, mountain climbing techniques and bear crawls.

"Each of the exercises they're doing today would have been something that he did in boot camp. Every one of them was pulled from the period," said SSG Jason Nicholson, 1st Bn., 29th Inf. Regt., who helped coordinate the event.

"These kids are having a blast," he said. "That's the idea: to have fun, maybe make some connections to his lifestyle, some of the stuff he had to do on a daily basis - and then the seven Army values."

"I get tired and sweaty, and I get really thirsty for cold water ... but it's not really hard," said 5-year-old Macy Sanders, explaining her afternoon of basic training.
Macy said she learned about the Army value of respect, "like don't jump on the couch."

"It's been pretty much like you're actually in the boot camp. It gets you motivated," said 11-year-old Rielly Bassett.

"I like it. I never knew about (Dexter) before, but now I know about him, and I think he's pretty cool," Reilly said. "It actually got me a little bit closer to him. When you're running and doing all the activities, it feels like he's doing it with you."

The entire week focused on Vietnam War hero Herbert Dexter through classroom and hands-on activities.

"Each day we've had different events that commemorate his life and what was done in his life," said Dr. Matthew Kralevich, the school's principal. "We're trying to immerse them into everything there is to know about Herbert Dexter, so ... they can have a greater appreciation about what he went through, who he was as a man, as a Soldier. As our school vision statement says, we learn from the past to create our own future."

Children learned about Dexter's history, the medals he received, Vietnam and even a few words in Russian, which he studied for his special operations training.

The school's partners in education, 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment, and 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery Regiment, helped with the weeklong activities.

"It was awesome," said 10-year-old Alani Hairston.

"Sometimes it can be a bit hard, like push-ups I really don't know how to do, (but) it's fun," she said. "I want to be in the Army when I grow up."

Page last updated Fri November 13th, 2009 at 13:06