Cadets from the Pottstown High School Air Force JROTC Program visited the Reading Army National Guard Armory.
The field trip, organized by the Career and Technology Department and funded entirely by the National Guard, gave students a rare and in-depth overview of the Civil War, World Wars I and II, Vietnam and Korean War and the current war on terrorism. The Pennsylvania National Guard Historian, First Lieutenant Jeremy Winters, held an extensive collection of personal letters, uniforms, weaponry and other rare artifacts which date back more than 200 years. The relics were actual items used by soldiers who saw battle. The realism of handling the items afforded cadets a visual reference into how primitive warfare use to be. Moreover, in an attempt to show students how far the military had advanced, armory personnel presented the new Stryker Personnel Carrier Vehicle.
The Stryker is an eight-wheeled, fully armored combat vehicle that provides an effective mix of capabilities which enables soldiers to successfully execute their missions across the full spectrum of operations. Cadets were allowed to tour the colossal machine and see for themselves how easy it was to operate its controls and computer systems. After operating certain systems within the vehicle, students stated, “They are proud that our fighting personnel have this vehicle to ensure the return safely home to loved ones.”
After the event, Senior Master Sergeant Bolar, an Aerospace Science Instructor at Pottstown High school commented, “Lieutenant Colonel Porter and I endeavor to provide a well rounded and fact-based curriculum to our students. This trip enabled them to tie the many facets of instruction we have provided to a real life, close up and personal perspective of how this country became the center of global power for the world, and what it took to achieve that goal.” Senior Bolar further commented, “When I asked the students what lesson they took away from the presentations, they first collaborated and then all heralded in agreement, ‘freedom is not free; it was paid for with the lives of patriots and the sorrows of those who lost loved ones in pursuit of a free and democratic nation.’”
Lieutenant Winter’s artifact presentation is in high demand across the state of Pennsylvania as he spends seven months out of a year away from his unit conducting lectures. Many who have attended his events comment that his collection is rivaled only by the most prominent museums and private artifact collectors.