Story by: Erin Sherwood, Fort Bliss Garrison Public Affairs
Joey Barraza and Vino Memorial Park, El Paso-
Fort Bliss Soldiers got a chance to share a bright summer Saturday with the local community on Sept. 10, by participating in the El Paso Police Department Community Fair. The event brought a variety of organizations together for a day of fun in the park.
Service members of the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division manned multiple displays showcasing different Soldier specialties, including a sniper tent with various tactical weapons such as a 50 caliber rifle and a M107 semi-automatic long range sniper rifle. There were also a few tactical vehicles present including an M1 Abrams, a Humvee with crew-served weapons, and one M1117 Armored Security Vehicle.
“It’s nice seeing the community get together and everyone having fun. I had a great time interacting with the kids and highschoolers and showing them the different weapon systems we use in the Army,” said Sgt. Seth Peaton, Sniper Team Leader, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division.
Visitors at the displays were welcome to climb into the vehicles, or practice their shooting stance while the snipers coached them on how to operate each weapon, creating a “hands on” experience for anyone curious about the daily life of a Soldier.
“The 50 Cal was my favorite weapon to try out. I want to become a fighter pilot one day,” said Nathan Escobar, a highschooler in Parkland High School’s Law Enforcement Program. “I have been out on the range before to shoot some targets, but these weapons are new, and it was the first time I had a chance to practice my shooting stance with them.”
For those who are not familiar with the military or military life, exploring Army equipment, and getting to speak with active duty Soldiers about what their job entails was a great opportunity to learn more about Army culture and some highlights of being a service member.
“I think some people have an inaccurate perception of what the military is really like, based on television shows and the media. Those who are the least familiar with the military are the individuals I enjoy sharing our displays with the most,” said Peaton.
“My favorite part of the day is seeing how people light up when they get on the tank, and how fascinated people are by our combat vehicles,” said 1st Lt. Jose Ollervides, battalion supply officer, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team. “We often see tanks in video games and movies, but it’s not something many people get to see in their everyday lives.”
When asked about advice he would give those considering an Army career, Ollervides did not hesitate to speak proudly about his own experience, and encourage those interested to pursue the many opportunities the military can provide.
“If you are thinking about joining, I suggest you go for it. I was born in Mexico, I moved over to the U.S. when I was six years old, I never thought I would be in the Army, but the opportunity presented itself and I took it. The service helped me pay for my education. Now here I am, a first-generation American, able to lead Soldiers from all over the United States. If you want to enlist, I highly recommend you do it. It’s an adventure, and there’s nothing like it in the world.”
Those who want to learn more about the many opportunities the Army provides can reach out to their local El Paso recruiting office for more information at goarmy.com/elpaso.