Children get a glimpse of Marine Corps lifestyle

30 Oct 2009 | Lance Cpl. Courtney C. White

Gathered around screaming drill instructors, children clung to their water bottles while learning drill movements and commands in front of the Headquarters Building aboard the Air Station during Junior Warrior Day, Oct 23.

Marine Corps Family Team Building hosted the event for 160 4-to -12 year olds aboard the Air Station. It gave the children a chance to experience a day in their parent’s life as Marines.

Junior Warrior Day consisted of boot camp-style training including, physical training with Sgt. Maj. Dwayne Farr, the Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31 sergeant major, martial arts training with a Marine Corps martial arts instructor, a simulated deployment and a homecoming ceremony.

“It made me feel good to be able to spread esprit de corps and exemplify how great it is to be a Marine to the children,” said 1st Sgt. Subrina Dickerson, a Bravo Company drill instructor, during Junior Warrior Day.

The intent of the program was to help the children cope and adapt to Marine Corps culture as children, according to Ligaya Lowe, a readiness and deployment support trainer aboard the Air Station.

The participants were separated into four squads: Alpha Company, ages 4-5, wore orange colored shirts; Bravo Company, ages 6-7, wore green; Charlie Company, ages 8-9, wore blue and Delta Company, ages  10-12, wore red.

Each squad had four Marines assigned as squad leaders to assist in transforming the children into little Marines. Drill instructors instructed the children on basic drill commands and movements.

Then, two squads went to a physical training session with the sergeant major, which consisted of 16 different exercises and a short run, while the other two squads went with a Marine Corps martial arts instructor to learn martial arts. After 30 minutes, the squads switched places.

“An event like this is good for families to attend so they can get a better understanding of what the Marine Corps is about,” said Sgt. Maj. Gary Tolar, a parent of a Junior Warrior Day participant.

The last phase of the event, the children piled into buses to simulate leaving for a deployment. Two squads went to the Aerial Port of Embark aboard the Air Station, and received a brief description of what Marines go through during deployment. The other two squads received a description of the importance of military police working dogs aboard the Air Station, the two groups traded events.

After the simulated deployment, the buses brought the children back and their parents held welcome-back signs they had made during the event.

“I like activities like this because it gives the children a better understanding of what their parents go through on a daily basis,” said Lance Cpl. Thomas Lamberson, a parent of a Junior Warrior Day participant.

The children received certificates of participation at the closing of the event from their squad leaders.

“I thought the Junior Warrior Day was fun but challenging,” said Peter Schlidt, a Junior Warrior Day participant. “Now, I want to be a Marine when I grow up.”

After the events were over, hot dogs, hamburgers and other refreshments were available for all of the families to enjoy with their children.

For more information about upcoming events call MCFTB at 228-6141 or visit