Maj. Gen. Tim Crosby, the program executive officer for Aviation, along with several PEO Aviation project managers and representatives, and the Project Office for Air Warrior,
participated in what could best be termed a relatively "elementary" operation March 15 -- elementary as in participating in the nearby Hampton Cove Elementary School's Career Day as guest speakers and presenters.
Excelling in school and reaching for the stars, or the skies in this case, was the main theme of the day for the group of several hundred third- through fifth-graders in the audience.
At the beginning of each of the three presentations broken down by grade, Crosby asked how many of the students had parents who were currently or had been in the military. About half the students responded each time with a quick show of hands.
A short overview from some of the participating project offices followed his introductory remarks. Presentations included brief overviews of Apache, Black Hawk, Kiowa Warrior and Chinook helicopters as well as unmanned aircraft systems and an Air Warrior system.
The Air Warrior system, or Apache flight suit, was demonstrated by volunteers from the Air Warrior Project Office. Each student also had the opportunity to wear only the helmet -- size small, of course -- while their photo was taken.
At the Cockpit Avionics Procedural Trainer, presented by the Utility Helicopters Project Office, students had hands-on experience in maneuvering through the different controls in the "cockpit" of a UH-60. A third station, presented by the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Project
Office, introduced the Raven and Puma small UASs, and the One System
Remote Video Terminal in an up-close and hands-on way.
"It's important for all of these kids to know that there are Soldiers Just like some of their parents who are out there working to defend and protect all of us every day," Crosby said. "We're real people that they can relate to. Many of them have parents that work on Redstone Arsenal or in some way support the military. Our presentation here today gives these students a better understanding of how all of that work supports the Soldier.
"It's never too early for these kids to start thinking about their future careers," he said. "If they set their goals now, I have no doubt they can achieve them later. If someday they're interested in the Army as a career, I would obviously think that's great. But it's OK if they decide to become a doctor or teacher or engineer, too. Or whatever else they choose to do for that matter. The importance of this is they see that education can allow them to do fun and interesting things later on."
The PEO filled the time after his opening remarks talking to students and faculty, answering questions about the Army and aviation, and posing for photos when the opportunity arose.
"It's important for each and every one of us here today to play a part in giving back to the community that gives us so much support. I think we've made an impact on these kids' lives," Crosby said.
Hampton Cove Elementary principal Ray Landers said, "Hampton Cove Elementary School was thrilled to have PEO Aviation with us on Friday as an integral part of our HCES Career Day. The students were captivated by the demonstrations, speakers and hands-on activities."
He added that the third-, fourth- and fifth-graders were at a critical phase of their educational process and meaningful opportunities to interact with real-world activities served to help mold and shape their college and career ready skills.
"Our teachers said this was the best Career Day in the history of the school. This was a wonderful opportunity for our students and we are deeply appreciative to PEO Aviation," Landers said.