SALADO, Texas - Troopers from the 3rd Cavalry Regiment joined the City of Salado and the Salado Public Library for the Touch a Truck event at the Salado Public Library parking lot here to help build community partnerships, Oct. 14.
“The reason we have it is just so the kids can kind get to see the police car fire engines and military vehicles up close and personal,” April Gatliff, a youth assistant at the library, said. “Most of them only get to see it in passing, and they’re fascinated by it. So, this is just a chance for them to come out here and see it up close.”
Brave Rifles from Killer Troop Thunder Squadron made the event possible by bringing a Stryker fighting vehicle and a Joint Light Tactical Vehicle. The static display of vehicles allowed children and adults to ask questions about first responders and military vehicles. Everyone could explore military equipment up close, sit behind the wheel and play with the numerous levers and gadgets around the vehicle.
“It’s definitely a huge honor,” said Staff Sgt. Alexander McCampbell, Killer Troop, 3rd Sqdn., 3rd Cav. Regt. “It’s really fun to be able to show all these kids this and get them a little bit excited about what we do every day.”
McCampbell, an infantryman, explained that he and his Soldiers do this every day, "but these kids don’t, so I think they are very happy to be able to see these vehicles."
For many of the children, it was the first time they had ever seen such equipment up close. Eight-year-old Michael Giganti, his older sister Angelina, 11, and their young sister Sofia, 4, had the chance to pretend they were driving the Stryker and a Joint Light Tactical Vehicle.
“I liked it a lot. It was cool,” Michael said. “We got to push all the buttons and sit in the front.”
Events like this serve as one of the many ways for Soldiers to demonstrate their commitment to Fort Hood’s partner communities. It also helps build positive relationships with the people they serve and is essential in helping to maintain a strong sense of community between the installation and its surrounding communities.
“I didn’t expect them to bring such cool, awesome-looking vehicles,” Gatliff said. “The Soldiers have been great. They helped us with crowd control in the parking lot, and the kids are just so pumped to see them.”