1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division hosted a Family Gunnery Day for families to get a better picture of what their Tankers do on Aug. 9 at Fort Hood, Texas.
“In the Mustang Battalion, Family Day is an opportunity for us to bring our families out so that they can observe what their Soldiers do every day,” Lt. Col. Jay Ireland, 1-8 CAV commander. “The fun part about this event, is that families have been coming from all over the country to see their Soldiers. We are not just seeing spouses, we are seeing fathers, mothers, brothers and even cousins. Across the board everyone is really excited to see what their Soldier does.
He continued by sharing how the children would shout in excitement as the main gun would fire at the target and the smiles that spread through the families as they watched the crews fire.
“It is a pretty unique opportunity that I have not had the chance to do this throughout my career,” said Sgt. 1st Class Michael Carroll, 1-8 CAV tanker as he was joined by his wife Tera and children Skyler (15), Cole (12) and Jaxon (2) as they took a look inside of his tank.
“It’s really cool to see what he does as a daily basis,” said Cole as he looked through the gunners hatch.
With a smile across his face, Skyler agreed that it was cool to see what his father did and he said that he would enjoy following in his father’s footsteps and join the Army.
The youngest Carroll, Jaxon did not want to leave from the tanks and had a smile on his face the entire time his father showed him all of the different ways to climb inside and would shout “TANK” as the crews on the range would fire.
“My girlfriend Taylor Dunn came from Austin and my father, Duc Tran came from Houston,” said Cpt. Larry Tran, Alpha Company, 1-8 CAV commander. “I have been in the Army for about 7 and a half years and this is the first time I have been able to take this opportunity to show my family what I do every day. It is so routine to me, I forget how spectacular it is to see. It was a blast.”
Tran and Dunn both agreed that they really enjoyed getting to crawl inside of the tank and seeing what their daily life is like at a gunnery.
“The Army is based off of the people-the people are the most important equipment,” said Tran. “As a commander, I am always looking at ways to foster those relationships within my company and having a good rapport with the families.”
The battalion had a variety of vehicles and equipment on display for families to examine, touch and learn about. In addition to seeing the static displays, families were able to watch as their Trooper went onto the range and fire at targets in the most modern Tanks in the U.S. Army, the Abrams M1A2 SEPV3.
“It’s really important to us to invest in the relationships with our families,” said Ireland. “We cannot do what we do without our families, their love and support. In the battalion, we are excited to continue to have events with our families.”
The battalion will continue family days as they host Bradley crew families on Thursday to give them a glimpse into their Troopers work lives as well.