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NEWS | March 29, 2024

Inspiring futures, igniting dreams: ARSOUTH Soldiers create lasting impressions at career day

By Staff Sgt. ShaTyra Reed-Cox U.S. Army South Public Affirs

As the morning sun began to paint the sky with hues of amber and gold, U.S. Army South Soldiers stirred to life as they prepared for a shake up from their daily duties. In the calm before the storm, their preparation for this unique mission unfolded. Fueled by purpose and motivation, they inspected their gear, packed bags, and loaded their vehicles.

This mission? Not a distant battlefield, but the bustling halls of Booker T. Washington Elementary School. Their objective? To ignite the imaginations of over 200 eager young minds during the school's highly anticipated annual career day on March 8.

For Booker T. Washington Elementary School, career day is a celebration of the diverse career possibilities within the community. The Soldiers' participation not only strengthens the enduring partnership between U.S. Army South and their adopt-a-school ally but also fosters mutual enrichment.

“Through our partnership with Booker T. Washington Elementary School, ARSOUTH is demonstrating our commitment to the San Antonio community,” said Capt. Alexander Ritter, commander, Headquarters Support Company, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, U.S. Army South. “Our participation in these special events allows our Soldiers to engage with America’s youth, instilling a sense of pride in one’s country and service to our nation.”

Elena Carrizales, a dedicated counselor at Booker T. Washington Elementary School, organized this year’s event, assembling Soldiers, community professionals and other volunteers from the community to educate students on the career options and opportunities they have available to them.

“Career day is one of the most important events we hold at the school,” Carrizales said. “When the students see the uniform, it brings automatic attention because they perceive Soldiers as real-life heroes.”

Career day gives students a taste of the Army’s capabilities and reinforces the fact that every Soldier has an integral part in accomplishing the mission.

Throughout the day, the students were immersed in unforgettable experiences through presentations on various facets of Army life, from physical fitness and drill ceremonies to Tactical Combat Casualty Care and Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear training. Students even got a chance to hop behind the wheel of a Humvee, experiencing its operations firsthand.

“The sheer joy and excitement on their faces as they engaged with our equipment and Soldiers were truly rewarding,” Ritter said as he reflected on the experience.

Amidst the flurry of activities, it was the medical lane that stole the limelight.

Sgt. Cody Taylor, a seasoned combat medic with HHBN, U.S. Army South, held the audience spellbound with his demonstrations of TCCC procedures. From assessing vital signs to administering care under fire and applying life-saving tourniquets, Taylor's presentation left a lasting impression on the young minds.

"My greatest joy today was witnessing the kids learn life-saving skills while having fun," Taylor explained. "Their enthusiasm for the medical gear was contagious."

While the day proved to be valuable for the students, it was equally inspiring for the Soldiers.

“These events not only offer children the opportunity to glimpse into various career opportunities offered by the Army,” Ritter added. “By participating in these events, Soldiers are reminded why we serve and how important it is to connect with the local community.”