ADAZI MILITARY BASE, Latvia -- Students from local schools were given the opportunity to learn about the U.S. Army and American culture during a community engagement held in Adazi, Latvia, May 12-13.
Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division out of Fort Stewart, Ga., and A Troop, 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade out of Grafenwöhr, Germany, were available to answer questions students had about equipment and life in the Army.
"To be able to spend time in the community and interact with the kids was a moral booster for the Soldiers here," said 1st Sgt. Victor Haven, a Covelo, Calif., native and senior enlisted advisor in C Co., 2-7 Inf. Reg.
Students from Adazu Secondary and Adazu Free Waldorf schools were familiarized with everything from the operation and function of various weapon systems and military equipment to camouflage face painting techniques. They were also taught how to play American football.
German-exchange student Fredericke Eichelbaum said that although she is from a military family, it was interesting to interact with the U.S. Soldiers.
"This is my first time around [U.S. Soldiers], so this experience was quite nice," Eichelbaum said. "America is known for having a strong army, so it good to know they are here and in other countries training."
For 17-year-old Emils Lisovskis, being around the Soldiers was inspiring.
"I would like to become a Soldier, it's an experience that would make me a better person," Lisovskis said. "They are strong and fit. They are here to defend us. I feel safe."
'Sky Soldiers' from 173rd and 'Dogface Soldiers' from 3rd ID are currently deployed throughout Europe as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, an ongoing, multinational partnership focused on joint training and security cooperation between the U.S. and other NATO allies.
Haven said that while working alongside a NATO allies and accomplishing training objectives is a key, community outreach is an ongoing effort; one that allows Soldiers to serve as ambassadors for their country.
"Spending time and interacting with the locals, in this capacity, allows us to squash any myths or stereotypes they may have, showing them that we are just people too." Haven concluded.
Visit the Operation Atlantic Resolve website for up-to-date photos and information.