By Lisa R. RhodesMay 31, 2012
FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (May 31, 2012) -- Leave it to a kindergartener to ask a Soldier if he has ever traveled to space.
That was one of the questions a class of kindergarten students asked Spc. Ignacio Quiroz, a joint operations duty officer at U.S. Cyber Command, during his talk on Career Day on May 25.
Quiroz was one of four Fort Meade service members who spoke about their careers in the military to students at Scotchtown Hills Elementary School in Laurel.
Renee Cort-Sutton, the school's guidance counselor, said the annual event is a requirement for all Prince George's County public schools.
The Fort Meade service members joined service members from Fort Belvoir, Va., and professionals from local businesses and organizations who volunteered to participate.
"I want children to know that military service can lead them to a future career," Cort-Sutton said. "The people who participated were educated by the military. Students need to know that you can go to a university, community college or serve your country and receive an education."
In his presentation to the kindergarten class, Quiroz said that when he began his Army career, he studied electronics and eventually was deployed to Iraq, where he worked with Iraqi prisoners.
But the children were most interested in how he has ridden in a black hawk helicopter multiple times.
"I've done Career Days in the past," Quiroz said. "It's fun telling children what I do and the experiences I've had. I know they're still young, but I want to tell them about the opportunities that come with being in the military and that I've traveled around the world."
Staff Sgt. Timothy Matz, an Army combat medic and noncommissioned officer in charge of the Red Clinic at Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center, showed a class of fourth-graders the kind of medical equipment he used while caring for Soldiers in Iraq.
"I brought all kinds of tools," Matz said. "When somebody is hurt or sick, I go out and take care of them."
Matz explained the rigorous training requirements for a combat medic -- 10 weeks of basic training and 16 weeks of advanced individual medical training -- learning everything from how to shoot a fully automated weapon to how to conduct emergency medical techniques.
"We get training on the most recent techniques and illnesses," Matz said.
Nine-year-old Markos Smith, who plans to be a football player when he grows up, recognized the difficulties of serving as a medic.
"I think it was amazing what he does," Marko said. "I think being a combat medic is a lot of work. They go through a lot of training."
Matz, whose 10-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son attend the school, said he hopes the students he spoke to will consider the Army as a career.
"I wanted to give the kids a different insight, give them an introduction to who works in the Army," Matz said. "And I like to talk to kids."
Capt. Rausham Salaam, an Occupational Health Science Division project manager for the Public Health Command-Region North, said he wanted to share his passion about his job and inspire students to pursue a career in science, math or technology.
"I want them to understand that if they have an interest in science or math, there are different opportunities that can open up for them in the future," he said.
Salaam told his class of sixth-graders how he evaluates the safety of workplaces for civilian employees and has even inspected new Army child care centers.
The students were captivated by his work equipment - a sound level meter and an air sampling pump.
Salaam said that although he can work as much as 16 to 21 hours a day, he loves his job.
"I've traveled all over the world," he said, noting that in the past two years he has visited Korea, Japan, Germany, Iraq and Kuwait.
Sarah Fakaye, 11, said she was impressed by Salaam's presentation.
"I learned that you can use a lot of tools to figure out sound," Sarah said. "I liked it. I want to be in the Army. I want to take care of people."