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Troup ISD graduate skypes with first-graders

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TROUP (KYTX) -

An East Texas airman stationed in Afghanistan gets a little taste of home while first-graders at Troup Elementary learn about military life overseas.

At 9 a.m. in East Texas, it was about 7:30 at night in Afghanistan.

And despite working a 12-hour day as an Air Force reservist, Technical Sergeant Charles Smith was happy to answer questions from the first-graders at his alma mater - Troup Elementary.

Colby Turner had a couple of them.

"Do you carry a gun?"

"I am issued a rifle. We have to carry it with us pretty much everywhere we go. And, if not, it has to stay locked up," Smith said.

"What's it like in the Air Force?"

"A lot of hills and behind the dirty hills, there's big mountains," Smith replied.

But, the kids weren't the only ones asking the questions.

"When does Little League start?"

"I think it starts in March. March? Ok," Smith answered.

First-grade teacher Amber Turner says organizing this skype session took about a month of planning and preparing.

"The first-graders also studied this week where Afghanistan is, the different branches of the military, and we talked about which branch he's in, the Air Force," she said. 

Troup school leaders say they have a rich history of honoring and recognizing their students who graduate and then go on to serve in the military. For example, this flag they hang up in the military is from Lt. Col. Matthew Rush Mowery, a Troup High School graduate who now serves in the Marines.

But today was all about Troup High School graduate Sgt. Smith.

Six-year-old Corgan Hewitt says he enjoyed finally getting to meet him.

"Well, I had some fun. It was fun to talk to a real soldier," Corgan said. 

And by the huge smile on Sgt. Smith's face, it looks like it was fun for him too.

Smith works as the assistant athletic director at TJC when he's home.

He says he plans on making another visit to Troup Elementary soon, and this time, in person.

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