Soldiers and their Families of 3rd “Panthers” Brigade dressed up in Halloween costume Monday outside the unit’s headquarters building.
The trunk or treat featured decorated trunks of personally owned vehicles, decorated military vehicles, a costume contest, a petting zoo, a potluck, a few photo booths and a best-decorated military vehicle contest.
The annual event’s primary purpose is to give back to the Families for all they do for the Army and the 82nd Airborne Division, said 2nd Lt. Tyler Beckman, 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment.
“It’s just a fun event put together to help Soldiers build camaraderie as well,” Beckman said. “In the Army, we’re in the business of people. So it’s important for these people: leaders, followers (and) peers in the Army to be able to have opportunities to connect with each other.”
Additionally, the event gave Families an opportunity to get to know other Families within the Panthers community. Beckmann added, when Families get to know each other, it builds a supporting network for the Army as well too.
Echoing Beckman’s sentiment on the importance of Familial networking within the brigade was Sgt. Alexis Mendoza, 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment. He said events like this is great for his Family because his children always have fun and they get to see for themselves where their father works. The Mendozas have been stationed at Bragg for six years.
“(My wife) gets to come out and meet the people that I work with and socialize,” he said. “People come and go. So every time we have an event like this, there is always new people to meet.”
Mendoza’s wife, Jacqueline, said it took her almost four hours to complete her two kids’ zombie costumes. She spared no expense in detailing the fake blood, wounds, green-tinged skin and hand-torn costume of Maximus, 4, and Nina, 2. She said unit-organized events like this help boost her children’s confidence and social skills.
“(Maximus) came in today really nervous and shy, but now he’s having fun,” she said.
As for Nina, she was not coy in sharing what her favorite part of the trunk of treat was.
“Candy,” Nina said in a high-pitch voice with the widest smile she could muster while holding her sucker in one hand.