FORT JACKSON, SC -- Approximately 35 new recruits sat in the headquarters building of 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment awaiting an initial briefing. A few wore ACUs. Most were dressed in civilian clothes. Throughout the next several hours, they would be taught by some of the toughest and best Soldiers the battalion had to offer: Mom and Dad.

The "recruits" were actually children, ranging in age from 4 to 15, who participated in Thursday in the battalion's "Take your child to work day," event.

Lt. Col. Bryan Hernandez, battalion commander, said the unit's participation in the national event was a chance for the children to get a firsthand look at what their parents do as Soldiers.

"It was really to give an opportunity for the kids of our cadre to spend some time with Mom and Dad at work," he said.

Because of the long hours cadre spend training Basic Combat Training Soldiers, the event offered a unique twist on family time.

"For our cadre, it's to build that rapport (with their families)," Hernandez said. "Our cadre is so busy working - 12, 14, 16 hours a day ... so, why don't you bring your family and spend some good, quality time'"

The children were treated to a weapons demonstration, got to ride in an ILAV, were taught how to apply face camouflage and got a chance to "shoot" at the EST range, which simulates weapons use with laser technology. A rock-climbing wall and huge inflatable slide were also part of the activities.

First Sgt. Richard Kelly, HHC, brought his own two children out for the day's events.
"They absolutely loved it," he said. "There was something for everybody."

He added, "On a smaller scale, it showed them what the actual Soldiers do."
The battalion also put their twist on a usual carnival activity by putting camouflage makeup on the participants. The children also got a chance to try their hand at putting it on.

"Any other fair they would go to, there would be face painting (so) we just incorporated it Army style," he said.

He added, "It was a great experience for them. They were kind of in awe (about) what the Soldiers go through."

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