Kids became Marines for a day
CAMP PENDLETON – Kids clamored onto Humvees, spun around in a gun turret and followed infra-red chemical light sticks wearing night vision goggles as part of the Marine Corps' Take Your Kid to Work Day.
The five hour event on Friday was coordinated by the 3rd Assault Amphibious Battalion's chaplain, Lt. Cmdr. Michael Foskett as a way to show kids what their fathers do on base or when deployed.
The program, now an annual event, started with a 400-meter run where some of the kids even called out cadence. Then kids were divided into teams and taken through stations — all showing activities integral to the battalion and the Marine Corps. Currently half of the 1500 Marine battalion is deployed to Afghanistan, Japan or part of the Marine Expeditionary Unit.
The fun started at the welding station, then on to the ordinance station where kids got to see machine guns, M-4's and pistols up close and onto the motor transport lot. There kids climbed into Humvees, checked out the 7-ton truck and got into the cab of the LVS — a large transport vehicle.
Next up was the station where the Navy Corpsman showed them how to care for injured Marines. They wrapped their arms with ace bandages, kids listened to each others heartbeat and they learned how to load a gurney.
They learned about the importance of field communication by using field phones used in front line combat situations. Then it was on to the Martial Arts station where Marines demonstrated the warrior stance and the hammer punch.
Each Marine upon entering boot camp is taught martial arts as a way to learn to use their body as a weapon. Marines continue to train throughout their careers moving through a series of earth-colored belts with tan being the lowest and black being the highest.
Lastly, kids learned the importance of Marine training for night combat. Each child was given a night-vision goggle and had to find their way through a blacked-out museum.
The grand finale included an assault demonstration using the battalions' amphibious assault vehicle, a 26-ton vehicle can move off the back of a ship, swim through the ocean and used tracks to climb up on land.
For Gunnery Sgt. Matthew Lockwood it was fun showing his five-year-old daughter, Abigail and his 2-year-old son Jackson the weapon side of the Marine Corps.
Currently as part of the mind-clearing platoon, Lockwood, who has been in the Marine Corps for 14 years and deployed five times, showed his children the weapons he uses.
Daughter Abigail was impressed with what she termed the "big rockets." She also loved watching the assault vehicles known as AMTRACs.
"It was so fun seeing them, they drive in the water," she said.
Lockwood, who will deploy in April to Afghanistan for a year, said his children understand his job.
"They adore the fact that I'm a Marine," he said. "They know I don't do it just for me but for my family and my country. Whenever people ask Abigail what her daddy does, she says 'he's a Marine,' and she's so proud."
Contact the writer: 949-454-7307 or firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/lagunaini