The sounds of giggling children and squeals of excitement replaced the buzz of soldiers at work Friday in the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division’s hangars.
Adalynn Stawnychy chased her 2-year-old cousin from the Apache to the Chinook and then to a refueling vehicle as part of the unit’s community open house.
The Apache aircraft were 9-year-old Adalynn’s favorite.
“I like that there’s two seats,” she said. “My little cousin can sit in the back and I can sit in the front.”
More than 100 people attended the open house event, held at the hangar at Hood Army Airfield. Soldiers were on hand to answer questions and help children and adults climb into the aircraft and vehicles.
“I thought it would be a great idea for them to come and see it,” said Lindsay McLaughlin, spouse of a 3rd Brigade Combat Team soldier who brought her 2-year-old daughter, Evelyn.
“She’s been all over every single (aircraft) multiple times,” she said. “The soldiers have been amazing. They are so patient.”
Over in a four-litter ambulance vehicle on display, Sgt. Nigal Buchko helped kids climb onto the equipment.
“It’s a lot different than (a typical workday,” said the medic. “It’s cool having the kids be interested and climbing around.”
Many veterans also came out to see the modern aircraft.
“I flew the predecessor to (the Apache),” said Al Hernandez, a Vietnam War veteran. Aside from the Cheyenne, he flew Chinooks, Cobras and Hueys during his career. “I recognize everything in it.”
While today’s aircraft are easier to climb into than the older ones, Hernandez said age made it a challenge to climb into the Apache.
“You don’t realize the years have gone by until you try to do that,” he said.
Capt. Matt McMillan coordinated the annual event and said he was pleased with the turnout.
He said people are always impressed to learn all the effort it takes to get an aircraft into the sky.
“There’s always more going on than just flying,” McMillan said.
Warrant Officer Andrew Trevino, an Apache pilot, stood near his aircraft and pointed out the various buttons and knobs in the cockpit.
“It’s a very good thing to do this,” he said. “It helps other families not associated with the military come in and look around.”
Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here. You can contact Rose L. Thayer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.