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201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade shows Carter Lake kids MI in action

Photo by Ingrid Barrentine Master Sgt. Katrina Cobb, 201st BfSB, asks second grader Gabriel Vizcarrondo, 8, about the details of his romantic life while performing a lie detector test Tuesday during a demonstration at Carter Lake Elementary on McChord

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It was high drama Tuesday at Carter Lake Elementary School. Tension gripped the small party of female second graders crowded around the portable lie detector monitor.

The NCO administering the test stared intently at her subject, monitoring the subleties of his body language, measuring his heart rate and galvanic skin responses.

Leaning forward, Master Sgt. Katrina Cobb asked William Kearney, 9, "Do you have a crush on anyone?"

"Yes," William muttered, surprised at the loud and immediate reaction among his second-grade class classmates, all demanding names at once.

Kearney's cheeks flushed a deep crimson. There would be no more truth telling on that subject, as Cobb removed the wires from his arm that tethered him to his good-natured embarrassment.

The students of the Joint Base Lewis-McChord elementary school on McChord Field spent their last week of school before summer vacation learning about the jobs their Air Force and Army parents do every day. This is the second year the school has hosted the weeklong event at which servicemembers from a variety of JBLM units demonstrate their skills and equipment..

Charlotte Peck's class spent nearly an hour with the 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade from Lewis-Main. The unit set up its own version of "Show and Tell" for the kids, sharing their duties as military intelligence analysts and answering questions.

Staff Sergeant Donald Wynn wanted the children to understand that not every Army job requires shooting weapons and rolling around in the dirt.

"We are building relationships and letting the Air Force know we care," Wynn said.

Joint basing has brought more children from Army parents to Carter Lake, providing a better understanding of Army jobs to many Air Force kids who haven't had a prior connection to the Army, Peck said.

The commander of 201st BfSB, Col. Paul Norwood, decided to participate at the suggestion of his wife, a teacher at Carter Lake. His brigade is now partnered with the Air Force through the Carter Lake Housing area on McChord Field, an outgrowth of joint basing. Soldiers like Wynn volunteered to explain to the children the different types of technology he uses, expecting to have lots of explaining to do. He found, however, the kids were far more technology savvy than he had realized and were the ones who taught him a few things.

"The kids know a lot about what we are talking about - Internet, satellite communications, database work, and they already have a basic understanding about it, which is pretty amazing," Wynn said. "Education has come a long way and technology is amazing."

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