A few days before Veterans Day and shortly before a planned deployment, soldiers of the “Phantom Recon” Squadron showed off the tools and skills that put the unit “always in front.”

The 2nd Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, the Adopt-A-School unit for Iduma Elementary School, gave a demonstration of a reconnaissance extraction using the school’s playground for a training ground.

In two exercises, a soldier used a script to explain the unit’s history and to describe the movements of a sniper in gilly suit gear, as well as crew members on a pair of Humvees.

After the demonstrations, students examined, with close soldier supervision, the weapons, remote-controlled airplanes and robots, as well as scopes that allow the soldiers to sneak up on enemies.

Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, public affairs officer for the unit, said the event was a way to connect with the community and show students what some of their parents may train for everyday.

During the demonstration, two vehicles pulled onto the playground as students sat on the blacktop watching.

The soldiers stepped out cautiously and secured the area. A sniper in protective gear popped up from the grassy ground and jogged to the vehicles to join his unit.

Before the demonstration, students joined their hosts in some physical training, doing jumping jacks with the visiting soldiers.

One of the soldiers leading the demonstration told students they were serving, too and deserved a “Happy Veterans Day” with their parents and other family members in the military.

“The mission today is for the unit to interact with the community,” Sanders said. “About 60 percent of these students are dependents of military parents, so today we’re showing them what their family members might be doing.”

“We have a great relationship with this unit,” Iduma principal Judy Tyson said. “Our kids love it. For these kids, this honors them in a way we could never do.”

She praised the soldiers for setting up the elaborate demonstration for a second year in a row with deployment looming and said plans are in place for soldiers to serve the school as mentors, too.

The scripted demonstration included history that noted the unit’s landing at Normandy, France in 1944, and push into Belgium, Germany and Czechoslovakia at the end of World War II.

Students cycled through rotations, where they observed a  4-pound unmanned aerial system equipped with video camera equipment to investigate out-of-vision locations.

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