Soldiers make a pit stop in Mattituck; hang with kids

CYNDI MURRAY PHOTO | The 423rd Military Police Company poses for photos after getting lunch in Mattituck.

Four U.S. Army armored vehicles descended on Mattituck Shopping Center Wednesday afternoon — their mission: lunch.

But while eating their lunches the soldiers took time to speak with curious onlookers, pose for photos and even gave children a tour of the armored vehicles.

 The 16 soldiers are from the 423rd Military Police Company, based in Shoreham. They stopped to grab a bite after finishing training exercises on the beach nearest the Orient Point Ferry, according to Master Sargent Larry Gray.

The soldiers must complete 80 hours of training in the 30,000-pound vehicles on various types of terrain to become certified armored vehicle drivers, he said. The unit has practiced on the Shelter Island Ferry, East Hampton Beach and in Mid-town Manhattan.

CYNDI MURRAY PHOTO | Mattituck residents Ryan Bordsen, 9, (right) and Jack Kitz, 13, were all smiles on board the armored vehicles.