The GeronimoNovember 28, 2003
Story and photo byStaff Sgt. Sharon McBrideU.S. Army Alaska PAO
— Thechildren of Ursa Minor are as busyas elves doing up care packages forsoldiers of the 1-501 Airborne Task Force, which recently departed forAfghanistan.As a part of the “Adopt-A-Platoon” program that originated atthe school, students are creating giftbags, goodies, personal letters andpoems and other items that will bringthe small comforts of home a littlecloser to the soldiers while they arein Central Asia.“The goal is to send somethingover every one to one-and-half months for the duration of theirdeployment,” said Lori Patin, FamilySchool Services coordinator.Out of 250 students whoattend Ursa Minor, 40parents are now in CentralAsia participating in Opera-tion Enduring Freedom.And so far, the program hasbeen a great success, notonly for the troops but forthe children and spouseswho have been left behind.“It’s turned into a greatway to talk about the deploy-ment in a positive way, and toassure (the children) that theirparents are being taken careof,” said Patin.Because of the program,more spouses of deployedtroops have begun volun-teering at the school.“Some spouses that haven’t beeninvolved with volunteering at theschool before are now coming inevery day,” said Patin. “It’s makingthe time go by faster for them.”Dionne Jones, wife of Sgt.Edward Jones, is one of them.“This is our first deployment, but
Always onmy mind
Angela Arroyo along with other children of UrsaMinor Elementary School make Christmas cardsfor TF 1-501st PIR soldiers in Afghanistan.
this is why he joined the military,”said Jones, adding that she doesn’tmind volunteering at the schoolbecause three of their five kidsattend Ursa Minor.“Besides going to college andtaking care of the kids, it helps topass the time,” she said.about getting shot by theenemy,” Rodriguez said.For the infantrymen thismission was different thanothers the Task Force hadalready done.“This was a request fromthe AMF, they set the loca-tion, the time and the route,”briefed Company C Com-mander Capt. JasonCondrey, to his troops be-fore they rolled out the gate.“Assume that the missionhas already been compro-mised.”This put the soldiers on aheightened sense of aware-ness for the drive throughKhowst and on location.Luckily nothing occurredand once the engineers com-pleted their job, Condreyhanded off the cleared areato the AMF, who guardedit until the Eid-al-Fitr cel-ebration.“The mission was an ab-solute success, there wereno incidents and we clearedtheir prayer site for the fes-tival,” Condrey said. “Itshows that we are here tohelp the people and to pro-vide a safe and secure areafor them.”
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Spc. JesseEnos,HeadquartersCompany (onladder) andPfc. AaronJackson,Detachment D,put thefinishingtouches on theGeronimocrest, whichadorns thefront of theTask Force 1-501st PIRTacticalOperationsCenter.
Photo by Staff Sgt. Jeff Troth