FORT HOOD, Texas- A veteran movie and television actor took time to visit the troops of the 1st Cavalry Division and show his support of the men and women of the military here May 1.
Ricky Schroder star of television shows 'Silver Spoons', 'NYPD Blue' and '24', and movies such as 'The Champ' and 'The Lost Battalion' visited Fort Hood with his son, Luke, 14.
Schroder and son toured the 1st "Ironhorse" Brigade Combat Team's headquarters. Later, the Shroders met Team Abrams, a mix of First Team civilians and Soldiers who work to repair the M1A2 SEPV2 Abrams tank. Shroder also took a tour of the shop where the tanks are repaired.
Team Abrams presented Ricky and his son with Team Abrams hats and taught them some of the training involved in driving and repairing the Abrams tank.
After learning some of the working components, Schroder and his son were taken for a ride in an M1A2 SEPV2 Abrams tank. Schroder expressed his enthusiasm about riding in such a massive piece of equipment.
"It was awesome, I can't believe how fast it moved," said Schroder. "It was quite a smooth ride."
Schroder said he is a big supporter of the men and women of the military. He has visited several Army bases across the country as well as those overseas. He brought his son along to teach him the value of freedom.
"I hope my son and his friends learn because of American Soldiers we have the freedoms that he enjoys," said Schroder. "I hope he knows the sacrifices the Soldiers make for us."
Schroder's love of the military comes from sitting at his grandfathers' knee listening to stories. Both maternal and paternal grandfathers served in the military. He said he was inspired by their heroism and bravery.
"I used to listen to their stories when I was a kid," said Schroder. "They inspired me with their battle stories and all the places they fought in. It had a big impact on me. I wanted to show my support for the Soldiers who make America a great country."
Father and son Schroder also met with Soldiers from the 1st "Warrior" Air Cavalry Brigade. After talking 'shop' with them, the Schroder's tried out the Apache (helicopter) Training Simulator.
After a brief lesson on the workings of the simulator the senior Schroder took over the controls and "flew" the simulator. He and son Luke learned first hand what Apache pilots see when piloting the Apache.
The Apache simulator is a training tool used to teach pilots how to identify targets, hold their position while hovering in the air, and destroy targets with several different types of weapons systems.
During the simulation, Schroder learned how to aim the Apache's weapon system and to judge the distance on a target. After the simulation Schroder was given a record of his hits and misses. Schroder expressed his awe and admiration for the pilots who operate the Apaches.
"It was extremely difficult to the aim correctly with the weapons," said Schroder. "These pilots have a lot of skill and talent."
After several attempts to 'destroy' targets, Schroder and his son were taken over to the flight line to see a real Apache helicopter. Luke took the pilot's seat with dad in the co-pilot's seat. Ricky and son talked with pilots and chiefs about the Apache's stats.
Later in the day Ricky and Luke enjoyed dinner at the Operation Iraqi Freedom dining facility. After a meal with Soldiers, Ricky and Luke visited the division's 4th "Long Knife" Brigade Combat Team where they were escorted to the M4 rifle range and the virtual convoy tactical training simulator.
Schroder learned the component's of the M4 rifle and was given a demonstration of the weapon's capability. Schroder said he was impressed with the weapons Soldiers use in their continuing fight against Iraqi insurgents.
"I wanted to come out here and see what the Soldiers do and see what kind of equipment they have to work with," said Schroder. "It's important that our Soldiers have the necessary equipment to continue the fight against terrorism and bring the same kind of freedom that we have to those who don't have it."

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