By Capt. Jessica Rovero
USAREC Public Affairs
March 08, 2017
FORT KNOX, Ky. - History became more than words on a page in a textbook for students in Homestead, Florida, Feb. 24 when three Army veterans visited Everglades Preparatory Academy.
An original World War II "Band of Brothers" Soldier, a Medal of Honor recipient from the Vietnam era and a 2016 Army Olympian came together to share three generations of life experience and military service with juniors and seniors at the school.
Al Mampre, now 91 years old, volunteered to be a paratrooper when he enlisted in 1942. As a medic with Easy Company, 506th Infantry Regiment, Mampre made his first combat jump during Operation Market Garden on Sept. 17, 1944.
"The experience was enlightening," said Mampre, whose life story was told in the 2009 book "We Who are Alive and Remain: Untold Stories from Band of Brothers." "I think I got two major lessons out of this whole experience with the Army, and that is, one, the importance of teamwork ... And the other one is to be focused. That focus can be generalized not only in the Army and whatever your mission was, but also in your own daily life."
Mampre was just a few years older than the students in the room when he served in one of the most famous units in Army history. He shared some anecdotes from the war, and then went on to tell the students that after returning from the war, he led a full life as a husband and a father and even became a psychologist after attending the University of Chicago.
While Mampre provided a historical perspective of Army service, Spc. Daniel Lowe followed to offer the students an understanding of current life in the Army and some of the unknown opportunities it offers. Lowe is an Army Olympian assigned to the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit and competed in the men's 10-meter air rifle and men's three-position 50-meter rifle events in the 2016 Summer Olympics.
"My time in the Army's pretty amazing," Lowe said. "I was in your place not too many years ago and it's a cool job. … There's all sorts of amazing programs to help you guys out."
Sgt. 1st Class (retired) Melvin Morris closed out the school visit with an emphasis on the importance of perseverance and education. Morris served 20 years in the Army as a Special Forces Soldier and received the Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama in 2014 for his actions in Vietnam.
As an African-American Soldier in the 1970s, Morris told the students how determination helped him overcome all obstacles, as he was told by so many he'd never be a Green Beret.
"Don't ever let anyone tell you that you can't do something," Morris said. "You can do it."
He said he dropped out of school after eighth grade to join the military, but then realized he wouldn't get far without his education. He went on to earn his GED, a high school diploma and an Associate of Arts degree. He told the students he never settled and continually worked to better himself.
"As a young person, I told myself, 'I've got to do something to have a better life,'" Morris said. "To me that life was the military, and I'm glad I joined the military. I'm glad I took advantage of all it had to offer."
He stressed that success comes from being disciplined, knowledgeable and capable and said those are the types of people businesses want to hire.
"If you don't go into the military, there's one thing that you've got to realize. You've got to have your education. You've got to learn your history... You have to care," Morris told the students at the end of his presentation. "You have to know what's going on. You have to stay up on current events. You have to know what's going on in the world today and every day."