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Peruvian children tour U.S. CH-47 Chinook

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Mary Pekas
  • Task Force New Horizons Public Affairs
Army aviators here in support of New Horizons - Peru 2008 took the unique opportunity to interact with some young aviation enthusiasts, June 11.

Task force members escorted a class of 17 four- and five-year-olds from the I.E. Inicial CRL. Miguel Peñarrieta Elementary School on a field trip to explore a CH-47 Chinook, stationed at Los Cabitos from the U.S. Army Reserve's 5-159th Aviation Regiment at Fort Eustis, Va.

The students, some of whom are children of Peruvian soldiers, have watched the helicopters fly over their school since their arrival June 1, and were eager to see the aircraft up close.

"The older children had questions about the helicopter," said Melba Montoya Altamirano, the school's principal. "They learned how (helicopters) transport equipment and that they do not need a landing strip."

Army Spc. Josue Coronado-Iglesias, a crew chief from the 5-159th Aviation Regiment, used his bilingual talents to tour the children through the aircraft. Specialist Coronado-Iglesias showed them through the cargo area and cockpit of the helicopter, and pointed out special features to the children.

"From the beginning we went around the aircraft to see the outside structure," said Specialist Coronado-Iglesias. "We went over everything that has to do with the helicopter - the first aid kits, our drive shafts, everything. They loved it."

For the servicemembers who joined the children on the tour, it was a memorable opportunity to reach out to the local community and enjoy an experience together.

"As a U.S. Marine, I am proud to be a part of such a great experience with the children," said Sgt. Lindsay Eccles, the legal chief for Marine Wing Support Squadron 472 at Naval Air Station, Joint Reserve Base, Willow Grove, Pa. "I have pictures and memories that will last a lifetime."

In addition to lending his talents to community outreach activities, Specialist Coronado-Iglesias has also used his bilingual skills to interact with his counterparts in the Peruvian military aviation community based here at Los Cabitos.

"It's a little bit easier for us to communicate because I speak Spanish, and we both have aviation in common. We've learned a lot about each other, and I've learned a lot about their helicopters," said Specialist Coronado-Iglesias. "I am looking forward to learning more about the community here in Peru."

The 5-159th Aviation Regiment is deployed to Peru through September to supply the sole rotary wing support for New Horizons with four CH-47 Chinooks, performing heavy lift operations, personnel transport and casualty evacuation.

New Horizons is a partnered opportunity for U.S. and Peruvian militaries to complete construction and medical projects for the benefit of underprivileged Peruvians. The task force is scheduled to construct two schools, three clinics, two waters wells, and to complete nine medical missions.

To learn more about New Horizons -Peru 2008, visit