American servicemembers play a lot of different roles when they’re deployed, especially in current overseas mission – they’re part warrior, part teacher, part assistant, part diplomat.
Watching the way American troops work in a non-combat capacity illuminates the breadth of their job. These soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines aren’t in the trenches dodging bullets, they’re delivering vaccines and building schools.
In Defense.gov’s newest special, we’re given a guided tour through servicemembers’ interaction with children around the world, from reconstruction operations in Afghanistan and Iraq to disaster relief in Haiti and South America.
To children in the areas servicemembers are deployed, they’re like the cool aunts and uncles we always loved to visit as kids. They represent a way of life unfamiliar but accessible, with their strange clothes, food and gadgetry.
They’re also vital in developing America’s reputation abroad, as their interactions directly affect the local opinion of the U.S. Is America offering a hand to help, or is it forcing itself on smaller countries? At the local level, our deployed troops shape that opinion.
Check out the special here on Defense.gov.