RALEIGH, N.C. (USASOC News Service, March 19, 2014) - Military displays are always popular when the public gets a chance to see and touch the equipment Soldiers are trained with. Parents bring their children to the display for a type of show and tell, but it is the uninitiated youngsters who ask the questions most adults don't think of to ask.
"How much does that back pack weight," asked an observant 12- year old. "Why is it so big and what are all those pockets for?" "Is that truck hard to drive," asked another.
The static displays and military equipment they were viewing was part of the Carolina Hurricanes', Military Appreciation Day at PNC Park in Raleigh, Sunday, March 16, 2014. When the doors opened an hour before the game, hundreds of fans gathered in the hallways to see the military displays. The U.S. Army Special Operations Command's booth stood out among the others due to the display of weaponry and exotic equipment.
One such item was the bomb disposal robot, displayed by the Special Operation Recruiting battalion. The hinges, switches, wires and camera eyes looked very much like the Transformer toys the kids see on television. Accompanying the robot was Staff Sgt. John Taylor. Adults of all ages marveled at his bomb disposal suit that looked like a spacesuit. He added realism to the role as he lifted an inert 105mm howitzer shell as part of the bomb disposal demonstration.
The 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) had several pieces of equipment on display. Their "tools of the trade" included scuba gear, breathing apparatus, all types of guns and the oversized back packs that many of the kids wanted to wear.
Sgt. 1st Class Casey J. Timmerman, a medic 3rd SFG (A), hoisted the mega-sized back pack on a willing youngster and immediately the kid exclaimed how heavy the pack was. As he shrugged out of the cumbersome gear, he asked how long Timmerman would usually wear it.
"Usually for hours at a time," said a smiling Timmerman. "Sometimes, even longer than that."
Outside the weather was not as cooperative as the Soldiers would have wanted, but nevertheless, the Military Information Support Operation's Humvee truck was very popular as the fans peered inside and crawled around the vehicle. After looking inside, one of the fans commented that there was not very much room inside with all the gear that was stuffed throughout the insides.
Many of the Soldiers were guests of the Hurricane organization and watched the game, but by the end of the second period many of the Soldiers started the disassembly of the display and had exited the building by end of game.
"I enjoy being part of these types of events," said Capt. Brian W. Ellis, representing the 95th Civil Affairs Brigade (Airborne). "The kids love the posters we hand out, and we have an opportunity to show the adults in the crowd what we do in the command."