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DCARNG Brings Southeast DC Middle School Students a Chance at Career Exploration  
By 2nd Lt. Miranda Summers 
A Kiowa Helicopter lands on the lawn of Hart Middle School in Southeast DC as part of a community outreach day coordinated by the 260th Regional Training Center and The DC Counterdrug Task Force.


Seventh Grade students at Charles Hart Middle school in Southeast DC got a

chance to think about their opportunities on May 20th.  As part of the

school's annual May Day celebration, soldiers from the 260th Regional

Training Institute and Counterdrug task force visited with a Kiowa helicopter

and an up-armored Humvee.  The program was coordinated by a computer sciences

teacher at the middle school, Tanya Riggins, known in her DCNG life as Cpt.

Riggins, an instructor at the RTI.


The seventh -grade students, with direction from 1st Sgt. Terrance Smith of

the Counterdrug Task Force, performed a FOD walk on the lawn of the school

and then watched from a safe distance as the helicopter landed.  Many of the

middle school students, as well as a class from the local day care center,

gasped or shouted in amazement as the helicopter landed.  One young lady

tried to angle in closer so that she could feel "the helicopter wind in her

hair." Several students involved with the photography club were assigned to

take pictures and interview DCNG members.  After receiving a class on the

Kiowa, the students were given a chance to talk to the soldiers about their

experiences in the military.  Spc. Arna Perrine, a supply specialist, was on

hand to talk to interested students.  "Telling about these experiences is

really cool.  It helps people think about school as being part of a career



"My principal is not a risk taker, but he understood the value of bringing

this kind of experience to the kids," Cpt. Riggins said.  First Sgt. Smith

restated the importance of this kind of community outreach.  "I always feel

like I connect with at least one or two youths.  We make a difference."


Maj. Malik Freeman, deputy commander of the 260th RTI, was clear about why he

had volunteered to come in.  "Getting into the DC community.  This is what we

do.  People helped me along the way.  Just because you grow up in a

neighborhood that people say isn't the best doesn't mean you can't have a

career.  People helped show me the way, and it's important to give it back."


Cpt. Craig Hunter and Chief Warrant Officer Fred Hall served double duty as

pilots and instructors for the aircraft.  They said that the benefits of

working with youth were not-one sided.  "The energy," they agreed, "is





Cpt. Tanya Riggins and Cpt. Craig Hunter introduce

students at Hart Middle School some of the features of the Kiowa Helicopter.