Cavalry scouts of 1st Squadron, 13th Cavalry Regiment, from 1st Armored Division’s 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, line up to welcome students and parents Monday into the new General Colin Powell Elementary School. Photo by 2nd Lt. Jaime Holm, 1st Sqdn., 13th Cav. Regt.
As more than 500 children accompanied by their parents walked through the doors of the brand-new General Colin Powell Elementary School for their first day of school Monday, they met guides who were just as good as any for unfamiliar territory: cavalry scouts.
Decked out in their Army combat uniforms, the platoon-sized group of scouts looked no different than many of the new students’ parents – except for the traditional cavalry Stetsons that set apart the members of the 1st Squadron, 13th Cavalry Regiment, of the 1st Armored Division’s 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
Lt. Col. Kevin Jacobi, 1st Squadron commander, said it was the scouts’ mission to help Principal Jesus Medina, his staff and the students and parents of the new school with everything from parking to finding out which room to go to.
“People don’t know the layout of the school; they don’t know where Mrs. Smith’s homeroom is,” said Jacobi. “They don’t even know Mrs. Smith. It being a new school, I thought it was appropriate that a cav. squadron with a bunch of scouts might be able to assist them in some manner.”
The “Warhorse” scouts started the day by raising the school’s American and Texas flags in front of the school that sits next to 13th Cavalry Circle, the street named after the unit.
The group of scouts broke into teams throughout the school to greet newcomers, corral students and help the staff handle what Jacobi called “a huge flow problem” in one hour before the bell.
“They’re basically taking the load off the staff,” he said of his scouts. “They’re basically the school staff this morning for an hour.
“The feedback I’m getting from the administration is that ‘Warhorse’ was certainly a big help, and that’s all I wanted,” Jacobi added. “We just wanted to help Mr. Medina. He’s got a brand-spanking-new school, and he’s pulling his hair out – so we just wanted to help his first day here.”
Medina, who said he’s fortunate not only to be the principal of a new school, but also to be serving the military community, said it was “truly an honor” to have the squadron help out on the first day.
Pfc. Ryan Veenstra, a cavalry scout with 1st Squadron, 13th Cavalry Regiment, gives directions to Yolanda Ross, left, mother of 5-year-old Jadia, center, and 7-year-old Micheal during their first day of school Monday at General Colin Powell Elementary School. Photo by Stephen Baack, Editor.
“It just shows that we are off to a great start and also a great partnership with 13 Cav.,” he said.
The squadron is designated as General Colin Powell Elementary’s partner in education, and both Medina and Jacobi said they are excited about plans for the future.
“We are very excited because not everybody gets the opportunity to partner with not only a brand-new school – and not only a brand-new school that services all military children – but also, this is not the ‘Fred Smith Elementary School.’” Jacobi said. “This is the General Colin Powell Elementary School. We all know the history of the general – the former Secretary of State Colin Powell – so we’re very excited to be a part of that history.”