FORT EUSTIS, Va. (September 10, 2009) -- Soldiers from Forts Eustis and Story lined up with smiles and signs to welcome students back to school Tuesday at area middle and elementary schools.

Soldiers from the Eustis Warrior Transition Unit lined up at three entrances at Mary Passage Middle School in Newport News to greet students as they filed in for the first day of classes.

The 27 Soldiers braved the rain to greet the students as part of a partnership in education program between area schools and Soldiers from Eustis in which a unit adopts an area school, with Soldiers visiting throughout the year for programs and in-class assistance, such as tutoring.

Capt. Donald C. Little, commander of the WTU, was pleased with the visit and looks forward to working with the Passage students in the future.

"This is great because it gets the Soldiers out in the community and gives them a sense of community," Little said.

"The Hampton Roads community has its arms wrapped around our WTU; it's done so much for the WTs (Warriors in Transition) and it's our way of giving back," he added.

Sgt. Mike Strickland, a squad leader at the WTU greeted the students with smiles and a booming "good morning" as they walked through the front doors.

"I'm motivated to welcome the kids back to school," he said. "I'm here to do anything I can to help the children, to lift them up and get them through the first couple bells of the day," he said.

Students at John B. Dey Elementary School in Virginia Beach were welcomed back by Soldiers of the 11th Transportation Battalion and Soldiers from Story's Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program also lined up to greet the students at Chesterfield Academy in Norfolk.