Shoshone-Bannock High School students shake hands with veterans during the assembly on November 9.
By LORI ANN EDMO
FORT HALL — Shoshone-Bannock Jr./Sr. High School saluted veterans at a school assembly November 9 where Dave Archuleta, School Board member, told the students Veterans Day is about honoring those who went before us, those who sacrificed to go to war, those who survived war and those who are surviving today.
The event began with student Keen Wilson singing a flag song followed by another student Kylen Stump singing an honor song. Veterans in attendance introduced themselves providing the branch of service and some talked about their experience.
The veterans include: Marci Flores, Navy; Darrel Archuleta, Army; Lt. Braden Dotson, Idaho National Guard; BeArker Tinker Perkins, Marine, Dave Archuleta, Navy, Ernest Wahtomy, Marine, Matt Bates, Navy, Nate DeWitt, Idaho National Guard and Andrew Baldwin, Navy and Army.
Flores was in the Navy from 1998 to 2003. She was in Japan for two years before returning to the U.S. Darrel Archuleta served two tours in Vietnam and said he comes from a family of veterans including his father, aunt and brothers. He encouraged the students to be proud of the people who served, “It’s why you have the right to vote and most of all to live free.”
Lt. Dotsen is the military leadership training instructor at the school that starts spring semester. The course will teach military customs, basic military skills, drill and ceremony. Perkins was in the Marines for six years including two years in Vietnam. He said the military taught him discipline as he talked about his experience.
Dave Archuleta joined the Navy at 18. He gave out Challenge coins to Flores, his brother Darrel, Dotson and Wahtomy. He explained Challenge coins are an old Navy tradition – what is given when one is first on board a ship – if anyone ever challenged one’s Navy status then the coin was shown for proof. He presented them to the veterans for their service noting Flores is a “woman warrior.”
As a School Board member, he also recognized student Braden Brunette for being a good student. In addition, he said an anti-bullying committee has been organized consisting of teachers and students to come up with alternatives rather than automatic expulsion.
U.S. Navy veteran & Sho-Ban school board member Dave Archuleta recognizes
student Braden Brunette.
Wahtomy said he was glad to be present as he has given service to the Tribes and the school for many years. “You have a very special school — elders made it happen and you’re walking in their footsteps.’’ He advised it’s the best time of their lives, “Enjoy it, make sure you’re watching over each other, have good hearts and minds, I’m really proud of you.” Ernie said the best feeling is to bring a lot of love “to all our hearts, our prayers are with you to be strong, coming years be aware, and learn all you can.”
Andrew Baldwin, athletic director, served in the Navy and Idaho Army National Guard. He went to Iraq.
Matt Bates, construction trades and technology coordinator, served in the U.S. Navy including two tours in Iraq. He loves being at the school, “I see it every day — it’s why this place is special — this is the only place I want to be.” He has about 12 to 14 years before he retires and “this is where I want to be.” Bates wants the students to take his course – it’s to help them have job skills. He had a family at 17, had to go to work, and at 19 joined the U.S. Navy. Boot camp was in Chicago, Illinois and he landed on the U.S.S. Constellation where he was yellow shirt on flight deck that moved aircraft around —in charge of 15 to 20 kids (blue shirts and yellow shirts) and had to learn to grow up, “one of best times of my life,” he said. “I was built for the military.” Bates said his father owned his own construction company and that’s where he learned to be a carpenter. “I had to do things as you were told, military is the same way, they told me to do something and I did and I made rank.” He spent five years in the Navy, couldn’t get orders to where he wanted to go so he came home. He served two tours in the Gulf, the first mandatory, the second was because the ship that was supposed to go in broke down, “We bombed Iraq the whole year — that was our job to create havoc. He explained one of things that become important to him, “I wasn’t just protecting my family, my state, I was protecting my country, that was important to me, gets ingrained in me.” “Another thing it taught me is respect — respect for those who came before me.”
Bates conclude sometimes “we have to take a little faith in the system and stay the course.” “It’s like here at Sho-Ban, we may not always believe in what we are being told to do, but there’s a means to an end. Have to become better than yesterday so our future is better.” He emphasized Sho-Ban is important to him, “not only my job but I look forward to working with you — it’s the best part of my day. You guys are important to me, I hope I’ll be here for a long, long time.”