3rd Supply Battalion earns hearts with tour
CAMP KINSER, OKINAWA, Japan -- There are many ways to give back to the community. Whether by providing a meal or doing beautification work, going out and being a positive influence in the community is a great way to connect with people beyond the confines of a military base.
Most of the time, service members travel into the local community to show their support, but on Aug. 3 Marines and sailors of 3rd Supply Battalion brought the children from the Nagomi Nursing Home for Children for a tour of Camp Kinser.
3rd Supply Bn. is part of Combat Logistics Regiment 35, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
“In the past, we’ve gone to the home to give them presents and food, but we’ve never had them come onto our base until now,” said Navy Lt. Barrett Craig, the battalion chaplain. “I think the kids really appreciate this, and allowing them to see where we live and work shows them that we are average people just like them.”
This was the sixth community relations event the battalion has participated in, and it could not have had a better outcome, according to Craig.
“The kids just instantly embraced the service members without hesitation,” said Craig. “I haven’t seen them so interactive before. They treated these Marines and sailors like their big brothers or sisters.”
The group visited a storage warehouse to learn more about different jobs in the Marine Corps before visiting the Battle of Okinawa historical display.
“The children learn about war history in school, but the museum gave them a closer, more in depth look,” said Fumio Iha, the Camp Schwab community relations specialist. “They can see war from another perspective and the sacrifices made for Okinawa by both parties.”
The camp mess hall was the next stop, where service members helped serve each child a plate of food before eating with them.
“I think it’s good that they’re here, and it feels good to help them,” said Staff Sgt. Ricardo A. Dixon, the mess hall manager with Combat Logistics Regiment 37, 3rd MLG. “Spending this time with them boosts both parties’ morale, and everyone enjoys themselves.”
Following their meal, the group headed to the base bowling alley for a few games before their tour concluded.
“Today was outstanding,” said Iha. “It’s great for the children to come out and experience a different culture and different type of food. It’s a win-win situation. The service members get reminded of their families back home as they interact with these children, and the children get a feeling of interacting with a big brother or sister.”
As hugs were given and words of appreciation and goodbyes were spoken, it was safe to say that the goodbyes would not last forever.
Service members now have a better relationship with that organization, according to Craig. It will not be the last time the children from Nagomi Nursing Home for Children come aboard the camp, and this will not be the last time the service members spend time with them.