By: Podruha Justyna Katarzyna Jerzewski
On April 27-28, 2002, the Chicago and Palatine, Illinois branches of the Ukrainian American Youth Association (CYM) visited Fort Knox Army Base in Kentucky. On an early cool Saturday morning, a bus full of enthusiastic "sumivtsi" boys and girls and their counselors started off on the 6 hour journey. The trip was sponsored by the Ukrainian American Veterans (UAV) branch in Palatine, and was organized by Lieutenant Colonel Lawrence Verbiest of the United States Army, Bohdan Pyskir of the UAV, and Andrew Kosowsky of the Chicago branch of CYM. The purpose of the trip was to enlighten the youth about Army life and military history.
Arriving at Fort Knox, we were met by Colonel Verbiest and the Men of the 2nd Battalion, 81st Armor Regiment. One group of the youth went to see how a tank operates and actually climbed inside a real tank! The other group got a lecture about Humvee personnel vehicles, then went on Humvee rides around the base! The boys had a real surprise when the lieutenant made them stand at attention and then commanded them to do push-ups. The lieutenant looked amazed at the skills our young men showed.
After that portion of the tour we headed to another part of the Fort. There we were again divided into groups, and each group got to see the living arrangements for the soldiers. Some of the girls admitted they could never be in the army because they could never fit their clothes in the small rooms the soldiers have! We then met with a Drill Sergeant who explained the process of basic training, and patiently answered the many questions posed to him. All the youth and counselors had a chance to practice shooting a rifle (under the supervision of a professional instructor) and saw that it's not as easy as it looks on television. After the long ride and exciting tours, the youth were ready to eat. As we headed single-file to the mess hall, the youth, counselors, and officers thankfully took their food and ate while talking about the exciting things they had just seen. After the meal we all headed to a bowling alley where everyone had a wonderful time, bowling and even dancing a little.
The next day we attended church with the soldiers, after which we learned about religion in the military from the head chaplain. Then we visited the Patton Museum and learned about the various weapons and uniforms that were used in the different battles America fought in. For lunch, we prepared and ate MRE's (Meals Ready to Eat), just like soldiers would eat in the field. The twelve-hour ride there and back seemed never ending to the youth and counselors, but was truly worth the wonderful experience we all had at Fort Knox.
By: Yunachka Adriana Popowycz
In late April 2002, the members of the Ukrainian American Youth Association branches in Palatine, Illinois (Dmytro Vitovsky branch) and Chicago, Illinois (Mykola Pavlushiv branch) took a field trip to Fort Knox Army Base in Kentucky. The trip was sponsored by the Ukrainian American Veterans (UAV) branch in Palatine, and was organized by Lieutenant Colonel Lawrence Verbiest of the United States Army, Bohdan Pyskir of the UAV, and Andrij Kosowsky of the Chicago branch of CYM. There we learned about all the vehicles used in the Army, we got to sit inside the tanks and take a ride in the Humvees. We also saw the barracks where the soldiers live, and we ate the food that they eat during wartime. The food could be cooked without a stove, and we were surprised at how good it was. Some kids wanted seconds!
We went to the Patton Army Museum and saw many interesting exhibits. They even had General Patton's actual uniform and gun from World War II. When we were ready to leave to come back home, we drove past the building that holds all of the government's gold. Everyone said that the field trip ended too soon, and I agree.