By Eve Meinhardt/ParaglideNovember 5, 2010
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - The Army offers over 150 different jobs for active-duty Soldiers.
Students from Spring Lake Middle School got to experience one of those jobs during a visit to the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade Dining Facility Oct. 28.
As part of their Family and Consumer Science class, the class of 24 eighth graders came to Fort Bragg to get a glimpse of the life a 92G, food service specialist, and sample some of the food an Army dining facility serves. The field trip was part of an ongoing partnership between Ebony McAllister, who teaches the Family and Consumer Science class, and her aunt, Master Sgt. Charlotte R. Boone, a Fayetteville native and the 82nd CAB food supervisor.
Each month, Boone and a few of her Soldiers visit McAllister's class to teach them about the fundamentals of nutrition, etiquette and making the right food choices.
"I wanted them to come here to see what the military food service program has to offer and how important nutrition is in keeping Soldiers healthy and fit," said Boone. "This is a crucial time for these kids as they start playing a larger role in the food they choose to eat. It's important for them to become more health conscious now and make the right choices."
McAllister said the event was about more than just nutrition.
"This was about getting them hands-on, real-life exposure and experience with the different careers available to them in the Family and consumer science pathway," she said. "This is the first year we've brought students to Fort Bragg and they've loved it. For many of them, it's their first time being on an Army post."
The students got a tour of the dining facility and got a chance to see some of the cooks in action as they prepared some of the items on the day's menu which included ribs and Cornish hens. After their tour, they got to grab their trays and get in line for an early lunch.
"I'm excited to be here," said Charles Lackey, 13. "I can't believe how neat and clean it is here."
His classmate, Nahyja Bradley, 13, agreed.
"I love the way (the dining facility) is set up. It looks really nice and I'm looking forward to meeting some of the Soldiers," she said.
The Soldiers were just as anxious to meet with the students. In the serving line, they joked with the teenagers telling them that the hamburgers were actually made out of lamb and that the hot wings would burn their tongues out of their mouths. Through the laughter, the Soldiers said the children visiting was a great experience.
"It's a great chance to get to help kids see what else is going on out there," said Sgt. Andre Nash, an award-winning Army cook who grew up in Philadelphia. "Kids' main source of inspiration comes from TV and rappers now. They're exposed to different stuff than I was growing up and it's tough out there. This lets them see that there is hope and there are different opportunities open to them."
Boone said that not only does it show the children the different opportunities available, it also shows them a different side of the Army.
"Often when these kids think about the Army, it's all just war, war, war," she said. "By them coming here, we're able to show them what else the military is all about and what the Army has to offer in garrison."
McAllister said that the children have appreciated the partnership with the dining facility staff.
"They look forward to Master Sergeant Boone's visits and learn a lot from her," she said. "They've really liked getting a chance to eat in the dining facility and said it's better than Golden Corral."
Boone said she is already planning the lesson for next month's visit to the school.