615th ASB supports Science Day
November 6, 2012
NOLANVILLE, Texas -- In the early morning Oct. 25, an AH-64D Longbow Apache helicopter and its crew landed in a field adjacent to Nolanville Elementary School here, kicking off Nolanville Elementary's annual Science Day.
About 725 Nolanville Elementary students, ranging from pre-kindergarten to 5th grade, dressed in red, white and blue had formed the letters U.S.A. on the school's basketball court to welcome and kick-off the day's event. The energetic students waved flags and chanted in unison "U.S.A." as the Apache helicopter hovered and landed. As the crew exited the helicopter the energized students greeted the crew with a choreographed rendition of "You're a Grand Old Flag."
The Apache pilots, Maj. Ryan Atkins and Maj. Joseph Bishop, both with the 21st Cavalry Brigade (Air Combat), not only had the honor of kicking off the annual Science Day, but the added bonus of participating in Science Day with their respective children.
"We know the 615th Aviation Support Battalion, or ASB, is the unit involved with the Adopt-a-School Program and we asked if we could participate by providing some aircraft and enjoying the day with the kids," Atkins said, a native of Venice, Fla. "Both our kids go to school here. I have a daughter in the first grade and a son in the third grade; ironically enough Maj. Bishop's and my kids are in the same exact class."
Atkins spoke about the experience, "It's always fun to see the kids light up, when we came in they were chanting U.S.A. and you know it was touching to us as we came off (the helicopter). I know there's a lot of hard work done by the 615th ASB and we appreciate all the help they provided to put this on for the kids."
"Our big thing is Science Day and our adopted unit came through," said Gabriela Morgan, Nolanville Elementary School Principal. "It's an exciting day for our kids, and they look forward to it all year long."
Science Day is a day dedicated to science where students at Nolanville Elementary School spend the day solely on science.
"We spend the day reminding the kids how important science is in our everyday lives, we talk about earth science, physical science, flight and the energy created," advised Sherry Burnett, 5th grade teacher at Nolanville Elementary School. "We have a lot of military families here and the military is an integral part in our community, they have a lot of science involved in their jobs every day."
One example of this would be the night vision goggles used by the Army.
"We've been studying light in class, so (night vision goggles) really adds on to how light works," said Barbara Snipes, 4th grade teacher at Nolanville Elementary School. "This is just awesome; the kids have never experienced anything like this."
Spc. Benjamin Benuck, 615th ASB, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, assisted at the night vision goggle station.
"We're demonstrating night vision goggles, we're bringing students in and we're explaining how they work, as magnifying ambient light," Benuck said. "A lot of us volunteer here (as tutor and mentors) on Fridays, so we understand what (students) are going through as far as the lesson plans and science specifically."
"We take what they are learning and try to incorporate it in with the night vision goggles, and explain scientifically how the goggles work," Benuck, a native of Honolulu, added. "It's really cool when the lights go off and all the students at once go 'oh wow, so cool.'"
The 615th ASB, along with the 3d Cavalry Regiment and various agencies and companies from the Fort Hood area put on many displays of science for the children to experience. Ranging from aerial, medical, communications, kitchen, environmental and military vehicles such as Strykers and Humvees all with an emphasis on the science involved.
"The Adopt-a-School Program is a partnership between the local community, the schools, their principal and Soldiers from the 615th Aviation Support Battalion," said Lt. Col. Shawn B. Czehowski, commander for the 615th ASB, 1ACB, 1CD. "It's a local outreach program from III Corps and 1st Cavalry Division that reaches out to our local communities and helps support them. It's an endeavor that we've continued for many years in the 615th Aviation Support Battalion and one that we look forward to continuing for many more years with Nolanville Schools."
Czehowski reflected on how Nolanville Elementary's Science Day began with the presentation for the 725 elementary students.
"That was a beautiful moment for the kids and also for our military, we obviously work for the republic and the citizens of this nation and it's beautiful to see how highly the local community and civilians hold our Army," Czehowski said.