As a group of students from Blackmon Road Middle School mingle around him, Staff Sgt. Terry Jones, a platoon sergeant in Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, holds the group’s guidon at Essenbager Field, on Kelley Hill at Fort Benning, Ga., May 12. The seventh graders spent the day with Soldiers of the 3rd BSTB, learning about what life as a Soldier is about.
As seventh graders from Blackmon Road Middle School filed off their school buses and made their way down to Essenbager Field, Staff Sgt. Terry Jones, a platoon sergeant in Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, stood perfectly still. The red guidon in his right hand was held firmly and he stared stoically forward as the children in his platoon flowed around him. Many made jokes and giggled at his military bearing, not knowing what to make of it.
“I wanted to show the pride I held for the organization,” he said. “For that day, red platoon was my organization. It was their organization. They needed to see that as long as that guidon was standing tall, they would be to.”
For many of those students, their field trip to Kelley Hill, May 12, was a day away from school. For Jones, it was a chance to represent the organization he has made his life.
“The news shows positive images of what we do,” he said. “These kids see us serving our country, saving lives and fighting for freedom on the news. I just wanted to maintain that and give them a live example of that.”
For one day, Jones was allowed to let the students into his world. It was an opportunity, he enjoyed.
“I know there were a lot of future Soldiers in that group,” he said. “The Army has taken me all over the world, taken care of my family and helped give my life discipline. I just hope the example I set that day helped give one of those children the same opportunity I was given.”
Jones was given the opportunity to give his platoon a mock physical training session, show them the equipment he and his fellow Soldiers use to accomplish their missions and let the students try on his gear.
“We take that stuff for granted and don’t realize how special it is,” he said. “As Soldiers we can get side-tracked by taskings and extra-duties. It can be frustrating. Days like that allow us to get back to having the same pride we had when we first joined.”
Jones believes that being around civilians can help Soldiers rediscover why they became Soldiers.
“I saw some of my lesser motivated Soldiers take pride in what they do during that event,” he said. “Everyone was very professional and took pride in what they did. We don’t see how important what we do is, sometimes. Events like that remind us.”
Jones is quick to point out that in five years, many of those students will be making the decision to join the Army.
“It’s not a long time,” he said. “You just hope you made the right impression and helped bring a quality person to the organization.”
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