Marines promote friendship through community outreach during Freedom Banner 14
GWANGYANG, South Korea -- Marines participating in exercise Freedom Banner 2014 took part in a community relations event at Gwangyang Jecheol Elementary School in Jeollanam-do, Republic of Korea March 7.
Freedom Banner is an annual exercise that projects U.S. military power and exercises maritime prepositioning force ship offloading capabilities similar to what would occur during real-world operations. The exercise also provides an opportunity to strengthen relationships between the ROK and U.S.
“Today we’re going to have a presentation for the 3rd and 6th grade school children,” said Gunnery Sgt. Lawrence W. Watters, civil affairs chief with Civil Affairs Detachment, G-3 operations, III Marine Expeditionary Force Command Element. “We’re not exactly sure what these students know about the Marine Corps or the U.S. military in general, so we’re going to provide the students with the history of the Marine Corps.”
The presentation included educational videos on recruit training and the follow on training a Marine gains at the School of Infantry or Marine Combat Training school.
“We really want to show the students the entire process we go through to become a Marine and share those experiences with them,” said Watters. “The Marines that make up this civil affairs team all come from varying (military occupation specialty) backgrounds, like infantry, engineering, and supply, so we can really give the students an all-around impression of the Marine Corps.”
After watching the videos, the Marines lead the students in physical training.
“We’re having the kids do push-ups, crunches and flutter kicks,” said Cpl. Jamil A. Monteiro, civil affairs noncommissioned officer with the detachment. “This is so they can see how we train and that we enjoy physical training in the Marine Corps.”
The students were also taught how to drill movements and had a drill competition with Marines.
“This is a fun and exciting way to teach them about Marine Corps traditions and how we operate as a well-disciplined force,” said Monteiro. “It engages them and helps build better relationships because they are talking to us and exercising with us, and now they will be more comfortable around us and other Marines they might come across in the future.”
The students were not the only ones participating in the activities, the teachers also joined in.
“I think this is a good experience for our children to see and learn how and what the Marines do,” said Sung Joon Kim, an English teacher at the school. “They are having fun. They really like the Marines, and I think it’s good for them to see the training (the Marines) go through.”
When the drill competition game was completed, the students began to file out of the room while laughing and talking about the presentation.
“We learned many exercises and some drill moves like coming to attention,” said Song Jin Young, a 6th grade student at the school. “It was all a lot of fun, and I really like the Marines, please come back again!”