FORT HOOD - A Fort Hood Air Force Squadron welcomed some young Temple students to help them learn what it's like for the airmen to work with the U.S. Army and coordinate air attacks.
The Wheatley School students, ranging in grades from kindergarten to eighth grade, tried on gear, night vision goggles and even revved up truck engines.
"They're like whoa this is really awesome," Airman 1st Class Jaron Maddox, a TACP with the 11th Air Support Operations Squadron said.
Staff Sergeant Joel Saldivar said there were great questions asked during the field trip. It was important for the airmen to simplify the gadgets to help the students understand what TACPs do.
"Sometimes it can be a little difficult because a lot of them can be really complex, so we have to simplify it a little, but we try and give them as real an answer as we can," TACP A1C Dustin Roberts said.
The students also got a chance to watch the airmen run a simulation involving coordinated air attacks.
"They're flying jets and trying to look for trouble," 1st grader Michael Pendleton after the demonstration said.
He also got a chance to operate the joystick at one of the computers.
"There's bad guys and bad tanks trying to kill them. The people don't have any hope," he said. "They're trying to give the people some hope."
Wheatley Middle School math teacher Patricia Jarma said this will help the kids see how numbers are used in the real world.
"The simulation that we watched, viewed in there, the kids were really interested in that it was like a video game," Jarma said.
But it's more than just about the students playing with high tech, expensive gadgets.
"We want to give them an opportunity to see some good role models. Our airmen are great Americans. And also it's important to for us we get so many thanks in the community and different opportunities to be thanked and we wanted to pay it forward," Lieutenant Colonel Frank Biancardi II, 11th ASOS Squadron Commander said.
The TACP airmen are part of a specialized group in the Air Force, with only about 1200 throughout the branch. The TACP airmen are in high demand by the Army for combined efforts.
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