BELTON — Sixto Delgado and his daughter, 2nd Lt. Delmarie Delgado, joined the Army to better their lives.
“I have two sons, and I really wanted to do something to take care of them,” Delmarie said.
Sixto, who is originally from Puerto Rico, wanted to follow his friends into the military, but along the way he learned how to speak English and eventually had a family.
Around 40 students at Belton New Tech High School @ Waskow heard from the father-daughter duo Friday morning. The Delgados told the high schoolers about their time in the military. Students also asked questions to the veteran and active service member.
“I think our intent with today is to expose the kids to the experiences of veterans to better understand their stories and to better understand what they do,” Tab Lloyd, a world geography teacher, said. “I think appreciation comes with that as well.”
Freshman Noah McCartney had a question for Delmarie — who is currently stationed at Fort Hood and has been deployed to Afghanistan twice.
“When you were deployed to Afghanistan, what was your sleeping arrangement?” the 14-year-old asked.
Delmarie, 32, said initially she was in a tent with more than 20 beds. Eventually, the Army constructed a building with small, private quarters for the soldiers.
“It could have been worse,” she said with a laugh.
Like his daughter, Sixto has traveled the world. He told the students he enlisted in the Army when he was 22, and was sent to Fort Hood, Alaska, Germany, South Korea, Bosnia and Kuwait.
Sixto, 58, said the Army was different when he was in it. He retired after more than 21 years of service.
“Back in my day, we had to shine our boots,” he said, teasing Delmarie — who was wearing tan boots.
“Not anymore,” she said, lifting her feet up.
Noah enjoyed listening to the Delgados’ stories.
“I thought it was really interesting because Ms. Delgado was active and her dad was a veteran,” Noah said. “He talked about how he went everywhere and went to different places and had a lot of different experiences.”
Freshman Maggie Gregory liked hearing Sixto talk about his perseverance to learn English so he could join the Army.
“He went into this not knowing any English, and now he knows English,” the 15-year-old said. “It makes him seem really smart that he fought to learn.”
Delmarie thought it was important to speak to the Belton New Tech students because of two main reasons: One, they might want to join the military and, two, she can shine a light on a woman’s experience as a service member.
She had another reason, too.
“I love questions. I can answer questions all day. This is amazing. I definitely wanted to come out here,” Delmarie said.
Listening to the Delgados’ experience in the military is important for students, Lloyd said.
“In a social studies class, that’s what we’re always striving for — to take those big ideas and bring them down to a personal level so the kids can understand them better,” she said. “It’s all about people.”