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A child learns Marine Corps Martial Arts during Mini Marines aboard Marine Corps Air Station, Mar. 11. The two hour event was held for children of Marines to give them a small view into the lives of their parents by participating in MCMAP, a modified Combat Fitness Test and other Marine Corps Activities. Mini Marines is hosted by Marine Corps Community Services Beaufort annually. Marines who volunteered at the event are stationed aboard MCAS Beaufort.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Ashley Phillips

Air station Marines give back to community

16 Mar 2017 | Lance Cpl. Ashley Phillips Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort

  Marines volunteered at the Mini Marines program aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, March 11. The family event was organized by Marine Corps Community Services South Carolina to build camaraderie amongst and promote a family atmosphere for the military children aboard the air station.

  “I am utterly impressed by all the Marines that are out here to volunteer for the families of air station; it is really awesome to see,” said Lt. Col. Michael P. Brennan, the commanding officer of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122. “It shows that these Marines realize they are a part of an organization that is bigger than them. It makes me proud to be a Marine.”

  Mini Marines is held quarterly by MCCS-South Carolina. The children were split into different platoons and given different colored handkerchiefs to identify their group. Each platoon was led by two Marine volunteers and cycled through different activity stations.

  “I love doing this event,” said Paula Dyson, the volunteer coordinator program director. “It is absolutely true, ‘Born into, sworn into, married into – we are one big Marine Corps family’. We are here today because of the Marine volunteers, without them events like this wouldn’t be possible.”

  Forty-five Marines and eight Lifestyle Insights, Networking, Knowledge, and Skills mentors volunteered at the event. Set up and orientation began at 7:30 a.m. to prepare for a 9 a.m. start. The Marines at the activity stations planned how to run their station and the platoon leaders began leading stretches and warm-ups with their groups. The event featured a toy rifle range, team building challenges, Marine Corps Martial Arts lessons, a modified Combat Fitness Test, and a display by the Expeditionary Fire Fighting Marines.

  “This event is so important because it builds camaraderie amongst the Marines, their families and really broadens the horizon for these children,” said Sgt. Jasmine Smith, the training non-commissioned officer with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31. “They get to see what their parent does at work and see what it means to be a Marine.”

  At the end of the event the platoon leaders gave each Mini Marine their dog tags and the parents greet the children with home-made banners. The Marines also receive letters of appreciation for their volunteer efforts.

  “Volunteering is an essential part of developing as a leader,” said Smith. “But for me it is also an essential part of being a Marine; giving back to an institution that has given me everything. These kids are a part of the Marine Corps family; therefore they are my family too. Volunteering is something I have to do.”

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