<b>SAN ANTONIO</b> - Hundreds of high school students looked on as the Ripsaw MS2 kicked up mud and ran through automobiles, just one of several different technology displays the kids witnessed at the Army Strong Zone today.

Night vision technology, digital translation devices and flight training simulators are just a few examples on display at the zone, a 129,000 square foot interactive area featuring some of the Army's elite assets. Soldiers and Army civilians are onsite to celebrate the 2010 U.S. Army All-American Bowl, set for Jan. 9, and to offer a glimpse into Army life and the options and opportunities available.

The Research, Development and Engineering Command will conduct technology demonstrations through Saturday afternoon. Today was the first Ripsaw exhibition to take place. The high school students who saw it said the display was quite impressive.

"The Ripsaw was amazing," said Leo Ibarra, JROTC East Central High School student.

"It was awesome, " said Issac Ornelaz, JROTC East Central High School student. "I did not think there was going to be something like that here."

The students also drove robots, used see-through-wall technology, ate Army issued rations, and experimented with night-vision goggles. "We got to see thermal vision and night vision and it was pretty cool," said Adrian Garcia, JROTC East Central High School student.

Some of the more popular demonstrations at the Army Strong Zone were the flight simulators and the hand-to-hand combat demonstrations.

"The combat was fun," said Garian Chase, JROTC East Central High School student. "They taught us about the rules of engagement, how there are certain ways to do close quarters combat, and how if you're getting attacked there are ways to incapacitate [the attacker] without killing them."

School administrators appreciated the opportunity to give the kids this type of experience, and said this is about learning something new and continuing with education.

"This is really good for them," said Col. (Ret.) John Lupers, Senior Army Instructor at East Central High School. "You may have a kid who has no intention of ever doing anything in the military, but they might look at these robotics and that may be their niche."

Lupers is hoping this exhibition inspires the students, and said that the Army values will help the students to be productive citizens. On hand to help inspire the teenagers was National Football League Hall of Famer Anthony Munoz, who was honored to be involved with the Army and RDECOM.

"It's a very impressionable age, and a lot of the kids are looking at what they might want to do after high school," Munoz said. "So when I was asked to deliver the message the Army is sending I was thrilled to a part of this today and hope to continue to be a part of it in the years to come.

The high school students weren't able to take part in all of the activities RDECOM had to offer at the Army Strong Zone, but many said they were coming back on Saturday to tour the area before and after the All-American Bowl.

"Today was good," Ibarra said. "We ran out of time, but I'm coming back on Saturday."

The Army Strong Zone will be open to the public 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 9-11 a.m., the game is at noon and the displays will continue 2-5 p.m. Saturday.

<div align="center"><a href="http://flickriver.com/photos/rdecom/sets/72157623161623382/"><img src="http://flickriver.com/badge/user/set-72157623161623382/recent/shuffle/medium-horiz/ffffff/333333/34402227@N03.jpg" border="0" alt="RDECOM - View my 'Students tour Army Strong Zone' set on Flickriver"></a></div>

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Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16