By Kari Hawkins, Redstone Rocket StaffApril 30, 2009
"It's a lot of fun!" said Jensen Call when asked about all the military hardware he got to sit in, climb on, look through and play with during Thursday's annual Bring Your Child to Work Day.
Those simple words were repeated again and again by girls and boys who came to work with their moms and dads. Their day began at the post parade field where Team Redstone put on a show of military hardware displays and demonstrations. For many, the day concluded with a visit to mom's or dad's workplace and special organizational activities. A total of 1,075 children participated in Bring Your Child to Work Day, an annual event organized by the Aviation and Missile Command.
With sunny skies overhead, there was plenty of educational fun for youngsters of all ages at the parade field. The Redstone police provided their always-popular police dog demonstration. There were also demonstrations by the Hazardous Devices School, Environmental Services, the Redstone Fire Department and many other organizations. But the military hardware displays seemed to be the biggest hit with kids.
Brothers Ryan and Trent McAdams really got into driving the Avenger air defense weapon system, making the chassis spin to and fro with a remote control. Their mom, Sherry McAdams of the Chinook office, escorted them around to see all the hardware at the parade field.
"I like everything! I'm not picky," said Trent while his older brother was a bit more selective, preferring the Avenger and High Mobility Artillery Rocket System over the other displays.
"It's really interesting," their mom said. "This is our third or fourth year. We really enjoy it, especially this year. They have a pretty good display out here."
Across the parade field, 8-year-old Mason Branhof was throwing a toy rocket in the air, a souvenir he received at one of the demonstration areas.
"I loved the M1 Abram tank," said Mason, the son of Bob Branhof of the Advanced Science Technology Directorate. "I wanted to come here today because I got a day off school."
For some parents, Bring Your Child to Work Day was like a day off for them, too.
"The thing I like best about this is I get to bring my kids to work. I like being with my kids," Jon Kilpatrick of AMRDEC said.
"I like being with you, too!" said his son, 5-year-old Liam, as he hugged his dad's legs. His sister, 7-year-old Shelby, jumped up and down, nodding her head in agreement.
One fun hands-on exercise for the day was a rigging display that showed the mechanical advantage of using a pulley to lift a 50-pound container of gravel and sand.
"I think that's heavier than you are," Hank Hubbard of the Hazardous Devices School, who was manning the demonstration, said to 5-year-old Tabitha Arnell as she tried to lift the container.
"Let's see if you can lift it with the rope," he added.
With a little help from her dad, Erick Arnell of the Cruise Missile Defense Project Office, Tabitha used the pulley to get the container high into the air.
Over at the Chinook helicopter display, pilot Maj. Jennifer Lynn Newsome of PEO for Aviation was helping children try on a helicopter's helmet. Yet, some of the children, such as 3-year-old Brady Fisher, son of Staff Sgt. James Fisher of OMEMS, weren't about to give up the fire hats they received at the Fire Department demonstration tent to try the pilot's helmet.
"It seems the fire hats are winning over the helmets," Newsome joked.
"That's all he wants to do is the fire truck stuff," Fisher said of Brady, whose older brother, 4-year-old Houston was very much into the Abrams tank.
Lt. Col. Scott Reed of the AMCOM Operations Center had a great time taking his sons - 14-year-old Avery, 10-year-old Luke and 9-year-old Jonathan - around to all the displays. Jonathan particularly enjoyed sitting in the helicopters.
"This is awesome today," he said. "Jonathan likes anything to do with the Army. His blood runs green."
Whether or not the Army is in their future didn't seem to stop the kids from having a lot of fun and learning a little bit, too, at Team Redstone's Bring Your Child to Work Day. Each child who attended the event left with memories of a day at work with their mom and dad, and a certificate of participation signed by AMCOM and Redstone Arsenal commander Maj. Gen. Jim Myles.