FORT WORTH, TX — Soldiers from across III Armored Corps raced to the Texas Motor Speedway Sept. 23- 25 to partner with the Dallas Recruiting Battalion to share the benefits of Army life with the public during the NASCAR playoff weekend.
Troops from Fort Hood and Fort Sill, Oklahoma, traveled hundreds of miles to set up interactive displays with various types of military equipment. Attendees were able to learn about the training and better understand the Army and its many different career paths.
With no U.S. Army installation in the area Staff Sgt. Blanca Vega, a recruiter with Dallas Recruiting Bn., said its great to have help from other units.
“We do have reserve units and then they would have to come to the units. When the public gets to see military equipment, they are very surprised and excited. So, it’s really good to see them and their reaction,” Vega said.
Vega also said she believes that events like this show a team mentality for those future recruits. It shows that the military is always there to support each other. Working and relying on others is an essential aspect of joining the military. Vega added that she was happy that units from hundreds of miles away came out to meet with students at the Texas Motor Speedway.
“It makes me very happy that they (fans) wanted to see and learn about the Army,” Vega said. “For all the units that traveled here to bring equipment, it definitely made a difference and the kids enjoyed it.”
The display set up in the fan zone of the TMS allowed those in attendances to climb into the vehicles, take pictures and ask the Soldiers questions about their professions and equipment.
“It was an excellent opportunity for the Soldiers to connect with the public and show them what they do,” Vega said.
During the event, students from the Dallas-Fort Worth area were invited out and given hands-on experience with various types of Military equipment and put on the Interceptor Multi-Threat Body Armor System, a bullet-resistant body armor system. Spending time with Soldiers at the racetrack allowed students like Army Junior ROTC cadet Keyona Shaw, a sophomore at Molina High School in Dallas, to learn more about a careers in the Army. The experience allowed for Shaw and other students like her to see what kinds of things the Army does on a day-to-day basis.
“I had a great time learning about the tanks and all the other information the Soldiers shared,” Shaw said. “You get to actually learn about all the stuff that you’ve seen on television.”
Army Junior ROTC Instructor, Command Sgt. Maj. (RET) Danetta Hurt, with Molina High School in Dallas said, “Letting students see what the military is like allows them to make plans life after high school.”
“I think it’s important so that they can visualize themselves in possible careers in the future,” Hurt added. “It really starts them thinking about what steps they need to take or start planning for whatever their future career plans are.”
During the NASCAR play off weekend 20 future Soldiers took the Oath of Enlistment.
Future Soldier, Alias Alvarez, from Dallas, said its been an emotional ride for him and his family to get to this spot and he is happy that he is now one step closer to becoming a Soldier. He went on to say outside of his recruiters and watching television he had never been around the Military
“It’s pretty exciting, Alvarez said. (Joining the Army) was something I wanted to do for a really long time, and being able to see and touch the equipment and talk with Soldiers I may be working in the future is cool.”
Alvarez joined the Army to become a Cavalry Scout. He said he enjoys being outside and looks forward to the new opportunities that joining the military will bring him.