Monday, 26 November 2007
Pat Elder -
A ninth grader in a suburban Washington DC classroom is delighted to be excused from Algebra class to spend a half hour shooting a life-like 9 MM pistol and lobbing explosive ordinance from an M1A2 Abrams tank simulator. At the same time 3,000 miles away in La Habra, California, a 15 year-old girl is released from English class to squeeze off rounds from a very real looking M-16 rifle. The kids thoroughly enjoy the experience, especially the part about getting out of class.
The two students have experienced the Army's Adventure Van, a 60-foot, 30-ton 18-wheeler with several interactive exhibits that bring an adrenaline rush and glorify weaponry and combat. The Army's 19 vans frequent various community events and two thousand schools a year, generating more than 63,000 recruiter leads. In addition to the Adventure Van, the Army has three other 18-wheelers for recruiting purposes. The Aviation Recruiting Van contains an AH 64 Helicopter flight simulator and an interactive air warrior and weapons display.
The American Soldier Adventure Van has an interactive air/land warrior display and a future warrior display. The Army Marksmanship Trainer has an interactive rifle range.