LOS ANGELES -- The U.S. Army Materiel Command and the U.S. Army Los Angeles Recruiting Battalion joined forces to bring science and technology to five Southern California universities and high schools, Feb. 4-7.

Students from Venice High School, Leuzinger High School, Cerritos College, Jordan High School and California State University at Long Beach explored the Fuel Efficient Demonstrator, or FED, and asked several questions of its engineers and subject matter experts.

The FED is a development of the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC), a subordinate command of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command and AMC.

"I think it's an interesting looking vehicle...an upgrade from a Humvee visually. It looks like an overall better design," Brett Rhoads, nursing student at CSU-Long Beach, said.

"The main part of the vehicle I liked was that it was eco-friendly; you don't see many vehicles like that," said Israel Arzate, a 20-year-old Cerritos College student. "You need to have more cars like that if you expect the world to keep driving."

He went on to mention how unique the FED is compared to other military vehicles he has seen, noting the solar panel, the cooling system and escape hatch as 'necessary and useful' elements.

Capt. Victor Shen, commander of the Long Beach Recruiting Company, U.S. Army Los Angeles Recruiting Battalion, spearheaded the coordination for three of the five schools visited.

"We are responsible for finding and processing applicants to maintain the all volunteer force" Shen said describing the recruiting mission. "We have a variety of missions - obviously the regular Army and the reserves are the two biggest, but even within that there is specialized slots such as Officer Candidate School and language programs. We are also ambassadors to the community we serve in."

"The FED helps us reach out in a different way, in ways we normally can't. We don't normally drive around in a prototype vehicle," said Shen. "It helps bring attention, and at the same time educate the civilian populace, whether they are interested or even qualified in joining, about what's going on with our military."

TARDEC supported the FED at the school visits with three subject matter experts, including the project lead engineer, who not only provided technical details about the vehicle, but also highlighted opportunities available as an Army civilian in science, technology, engineering and math.

"It's important that we do this as often as we can," Shen continued. "We appreciate the Army Materiel Command for bringing it out. It's a good win-win."