CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – “Strawberry! Strawberry! Strawberry!” The Marine’s daughter yelled out her favorite flavor of ice-cream as she violently punched the martial arts pad.
“There you go, hit it harder!” A Marine egged her on, as service members and their family members watched with joy.
Marines and sailors with 1st Maintenance Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 15, 1st Marine Logistics Group, hosted a Johnny Wayne Day aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Aug. 9, 2013. At the family day, the children of Marines and sailors participated in a number of events that simulated what their parents might experience on a day-to-day basis as a member of the military.
Events included Marine Corps Martial Arts Program training, an obstacle course, a simulated combat fitness test, static displays of weapons and tactical vehicles, a field meet and an outdoor barbeque.
“We try to have the children participate in events that are similar to what Marines and sailors would do in their training,” said Marty K. Rector, the family readiness officer for 1st Supply Bn., CLR-15, 1st MLG. “It’s important for the kids and spouses to see what their mommy, daddy or family member does in the Marine Corps.”
In the MCMAP pit, children were encouraged to learn basic self-defense techniques and to have fun doing it by yelling their favorite colors, flavors of ice-cream or cartoon characters. Basic construction materials were used to build the children an obstacle course to run through with their parents guiding them along.
Tactical vehicles were displayed, including a Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement truck, bulldozer and HMMWV. The children enjoyed racking back M240B machine guns and an Mk 19 grenade launcher, sometimes needing a helping hand from an experienced Marine.
“They’re having a blast, they’re loving it,” said Rector. “What’s really cool about it is the parents get to help their kids do it. It’s family time. They get to have some fun with their kids in a Marine Corps environment.”
For many of the children, it was the first time they had the chance to see what their parents do at work in the Marine Corps.
“I knew my kids always wanted to come to work with me so I knew they would like to see some of the things we do,” said Sgt. Anthony Miller, operations non-commissioned officer-in-charge, 1st Supply Bn. “They enjoy seeing all the Marines out here and they’re having a great time.”
For the Marines without children, the battalion held a field meet where shops competed against each other in physical events such as a log raising competition.
“Events like this are important because they build camaraderie within the unit and during deployments it allows the spouses to meet other spouses and build a support group while we’re gone,” said Miller.
After the children became worn out from the many activities of the day, they walked over to refuel at the barbeque with a greater understanding of what their parents do and an enjoyable memory aboard Camp Pendleton.