By 2nd Lt. Lee Howard, 8th Squadron, 10th Cavalry RegimentMarch 4, 2008
FORT HOOD, Texas - The 8th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment conducted its first Family day, Feb. 9 at Jack Mountain Range.
At the midpoint of the squadron's M3A3 Bradley and M1025 HMMWV gunnery, 167 Family members and friends ventured out to Jack Mountain Range to get a better idea how their loved ones prepare for overseas deployments.
"Even though there were quite a few hoops that we as a squadron had to jump through, it is well worth it to give the Soldiers' families the piece of mind to see the world-class training their loved ones are getting," said Capt. Shawn Wiley, 8-10 Cavalry's assistant operations officer.
The Families met up early at the squadron headquarters, loaded buses and traveled to the sight. Upon their arrival at the training site, unit leaders gave the Families an initial layout of the area and a safety brief. Their Soldiers escorted the Family members through the day's activities which included static displays, a tour of the tower and a M113 ride.
The static displays were complete with various tactical vehicles. A subject matter expert was at each vehicle along with a board listing the statistics of each vehicle to answer questions the Family members might have.
"I hear my husband come home and talk about training on this truck or shooting this gun and being able to get so close is really neat," said Sherry Carter, wife of Pfc. Jonathan Carter.
Pfc. Carter, a Soldier assigned to the squadron's headquarters troop, took his wife to each vehicle and explained what his job would be depending on what vehicle he would use in Iraq.
"It makes me almost laugh to see the light in his eye and his grin as he explains all this," Mrs. Carter said.
Looking down from the range tower, Families saw how a live fire gunnery operates.
"Even though space got a little tight in the tower, it was neat to see the faces of the kids as rounds went down range," said 1st Lt. Geoff Childs, the range officer-in-charge assigned to Troop B.
Unit leaders educated the Families on how range personnel controlled targets and integrated safety into the training.
In the afternoon, families rode in armored personnel carriers and had lunch - Army style. Squadron medics drove countless wide-eyed children and their parents around a predetermined course to let them feel how tracked vehicles ride.
"My wife can finally understand why I bring home such dusty uniforms after being out in the field," said Spc. Oscar Pineda, a Soldier assigned to squadron headquarters.
Riding in the vehicles helped the Family members identify with the stories their military spouses tell when they come home.
After a meal provided by the 8-10 Cavalry's forward support troop, Troop D, the Families returned to the range tower area to load the buses and head back home. Soldiers and Family members exchanged hugs and recanted the fresh experiences of the day.
"I wished it was longer because it was neat spending time with dad," said Sean Chirco, son of Sgt. Nick Chirco, Troop D, 8-10 Cav.