Ceremony honors female combat soldiers
November 14, 2017
The annual Veterans Day ceremony at Lahontan Elementary School on Thursday honored the Battle Born's only two female combat soldiers who are serving in the Nevada Army National Guard as members of Fallon's 609th Engineering Co.
Kieran Kalt, an LES teacher and a veteran who served in the U.S. Army and Nevada Army National Guard, told her students of the importance of women in the military after volunteers served breakfast.
Pvt. 1st Class Brittany Sears and Spec. Cindy Robles, who was unable to attend, reported to the engineering company as the first two combat-trained soldiers assigned to any Nevada Army National Guard unit. They competed their basic and advanced training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, before returning to Nevada in July.
Sears hails from a military family. Her mother, an Army major, is a professor of military science at the University of Nevada, Reno. Sears spoke first to an all-school assembly, and then read a book on the meaning of Veterans Day to Kalt's students.
The Galena High School graduate gave an overview of her military service to the attentive students. Because of the military influence in her family, she said she wanted to enlist.
"Whatever you do it will be really hard, but if you want to do it you, work your hardest and you can do it," she said to students.
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Sears said soldiers in the engineering company work with demolition and also tear down buildings. She told the students that soldiers must keep in good shape, and that they walk many miles carrying heavy backpacks.
Every year before the program begins, volunteers serve breakfast to the area veterans. Rachel Parsons, who is an aide at the school, said Veterans Day is an impotent time to remember those who defended their country. Her husband was in the U.S. Army, older brother and father served in the Navy, and she has a son currently assigned at Twentynine Palms, Calif., where the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center and the Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command are located.
Parsons said her son likes Twentynine Palms because of both the desert landscape and temperatures that remind him of his Fallon home.
"I do this every year," she said of volunteering for the ceremony and breakfast. "I love it. I also do the Honor Wall, and Kieran gives me some photos, and I get some. Megan Smith (a staff member) helped me."
Parsons said the teachers who served or have a parent who joined the military like to put photos up of their loved ones.
Kalt said Churchill County Navy Junior ROTC students organized the event and provided the honor guard to present the colors.
A01 Eduardo Viera has spent three years in Fallon and has volunteered at many military functions. He also assists with the American Legion Post 16's Meals on Wheels dinner program on Thanksgiving Day. As for Veterans Day at LES, this was his first year to volunteer.
"It means everything," he said. "I try to give back to the community. I like the kids and the expressions they have for us. That's what it's about"
Nevada Army National Guard Pvt. Kyle Eason said this was also the first Veterans Day ceremony he has attended since he enlisted.
"It was awesome," he said, after listening to Sears read the book to students. "I'm glad they still do them (veterans Day ceremonies). These are good things to remember."