By Scott Prater | Mountaineer staff
FORT CARSON, Colo. — Take your Child to Work Day has become a popular activity for Americans these past few years. Workers typically bring their children to the office, sit them down at desks, drag them to meetings and help them learn a little about the companies they work for.
Soldiers with the 4th Engineer Battalion thought the idea sounded great, so they set up a day for the entire battalion to show off its day-to-day activities. Fortunately for their children, engineer Soldiers do much more than answer calls, send emails and sit through meetings.
More than 70 battalion Family members participated in the 4th Engineer Battalion Vanguard Kids’ Day event Aug. 1, 2019, at battalion operations facilities on post.
For more than three hours, children and Family members toured the battalion’s operations facility, where they learned about the unit’s vehicles and equipment.
The Soldiers pulled out all of the stops when teaching and demonstrating a variety of vehicles and equipment. The kids not only learned, they shifted, steered and operated dozer blades, back hoes, cranes, buckets and lifters.
The battalion typically hosts some type of kids’ day event for battalion Family members each summer. This event featured face painting, a three-legged race, a kids’ obstacle course, water-balloon activities, a robotics lane and of course, the battalion vehicle demonstrations.
“The idea is to show our Soldiers’ children everything the battalion does, so we had representatives from each of our companies display equipment and show how that equipment operates,” said Sgt. Ryan Hemhauser, Family readiness liaison, 4th Eng. Bn.
The battalion is responsible for a variety of missions, from horizontal and vertical construction to mine detection and minefield clearance and setting, so event participants climbed on and in bulldozers, mine detectors, personnel carriers and many other vehicles designed specifically for the battalion’s missions.
Each company was tasked with highlighting a portion of the battalion’s mission and providing an activity for participants.
“The kids love this event,” said Megan Washburn, spouse of Sgt. Christopher Washburn, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Eng. Bn. “It’s a whole lot of fun for them, and they learn quite a bit as well.”
Some of the demonstration activities allowed the kids to get into the driver’s seat and actually operate functional components, while Soldiers provided guidance and safety precautions.
“We have some units that are deployed right now, and some of their Family members were able to come out and enjoy the Vanguard Kids’ Day activities,” Hemhauser said. “This is a nice way to help them feel involved, even though their loved ones are far away.”
Spc. John Chumbiauca, 576th Engineer Company, spent most of the day demonstrating a High Mobility Engineer Excavator, also known as an HMEE vehicle, or what some might call a backhoe loader.
“It was real fun to show the kids and Family members how to operate the HMEE,” he said. “It’s like a big toy and a lot of the kids have toy trucks and vehicles, so its great for them to see how they operate. Who knows, some of them may decide to do this type of work when they grow up. And, it’s helpful for the Families because the kids may know that mom or dad is in the Army, but don’t know what mom or dad does day to day. We bring them in here and it opens their eyes.”