Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Fort Carson Mountaineer

Soldiers share holiday spirit with students

Pfc. Andrew Strickland, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, paints a snowman on Jaerrya Sweet’s cheek during the Weikel Elementary School Winter Wonderland party, Dec. 6.

Story and photo by Spc. Andrew Ingram

1st Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division

The sound of children laughing and high-pitched voices singing Christmas carols resonated through the halls as “Ghost” Squadron Soldiers volunteered during the Weikel Elementary School Winter Wonderland party, Dec. 6.

Soldiers of 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, played games with the children, helped them craft holiday art, decorated cookies and rang in the holiday season with their pint-sized partners.

“Coming out to events like Winter Wonderland is our honor and our pleasure,” said Lt. Col. Geoffrey Norman, commander, 7th Sqdn., 10th Cav. Reg. “A lot of the Soldiers in the squadron send their kids to school here and when we deployed to Afghanistan, the school did a great job of supporting us; but our partnership runs much deeper than that.”

The bond between the Ghost Squadron and Weikel Elementary goes back to Capt. Ian Weikel, the 7th Sqdn., 10th Cav. Reg., Soldier the school memorialized following his death in Iraq, Norman said.

Ghost troopers volunteer with Weikel Elementary through the Adopt-A-School program throughout the school year, spending time with the children during field days and holiday parties.

Amanda Flute, mother of two Weikel Elementary students, said her children loved playing in the gym where the Ghost troopers organized a number of physical activities for students.

“It’s always awesome to see these young Soldiers because they have the energy to keep up with the kids,” Flute said. “Honestly, it looks like a lot of these guys are having just as much fun as the students.”

The Winter Wonderland featured activities to include singing Christmas carols, face painting and a rubber chicken toss.

“It is a lot of fun to come out here and volunteer with these kids,” said Spc. Mike Siegfried, Troop A, 7th Sqdn., 10th Cav. Reg. “I’ve had a blast so far and the kids are having a great time. It’s this kind of event that reminds us why we serve in the first place.”

By volunteering at the school, the troopers help strengthen the relationship between their unit and the rest of the Fort Carson community, said Siegfried.

“We make an effort to be a part of the Fort Carson and Colorado Springs community,” he said. “This kind of event helps us stay connected.”

Uniformed Soldiers participating in events, and organizing games and crafts, adds a level of excitement for the students, said Weikel Elementary Vice Principal Tammy Krueger.

“Having the Soldiers out here really makes the kids feel special,” she said. “Even though their parents are in the service, I think it is still a thrill for them to see these guys in uniform at their school playing games with them. This is one of my favorite events of the year and these Soldiers play a huge part in that.”

The Ghost Squadron will continue partnering with Weikel Elementary to strengthen the unit’s bonds with the community and provide good role models for the children.

“Our partnership with Weikel is very important to the squadron,” said Norman. “I look forward to continuing working with the staff and students here in the future.”

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