Archived Story

Soldiers answer middle-schoolers’ questions

Published 4:18pm Tuesday, November 29, 2011

CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait — Two soldiers from Albert Lea took time out of their busy schedules while deployed in Kuwait to answer some questions of curious middle-schoolers.

Sgt. Thomas Estes and Cor. Francisco Lopez were interviewed on video Nov. 6 and answered questions from Sue Ellis’ advisory class at Southwest Middle School. Lalli Lopez, one of the students in the class, is Francisco’s daughter.

The students compiled a list of questions, mostly curious about what it’s like to live over there, how they talk with family and others. One of the questions asked what it’s like in the battlefield.

“It gets scary now and then, but we’re well-trained,” Lopez said.

Another question asked what Americans are doing in Kuwait. Estes said they’re providing security, which is their company’s mission. When asked why they joined the Army, Lopez said it was his dream to wear the Army uniform, among other reasons, and Estes said he wanted to do his part and get college money.

One question asked where the soldiers sleep and Lopez explained that they have rooms with room for five soldiers. When asked what they missed most about home both men replied that they missed spending time with their families.

“Spending time with my kids, spending time with my wife and cooking out — I love cooking out,” Lopez said.

Another question asked how the students can help out in the community if they’re too young to join the service. Estes suggested helping the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon group.

“Helping out with child care so parents can have their own time,” Lopez said.

The soldiers answered a question about what kind of food they eat and where they eat it by describing that there are a lot of choices at the dining facility that is available to them. When asked if they had seen anyone die, both laughed and said, “No.”

Estes and Lopez are deployed with Albert Lea’s Delta Company, part of the 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry Regiment, within the 34th “Red Bull” Division. One of Delta Company’s missions, part of Operation New Dawn, is to safely escort troops and equipment out of Iraq.