Marines, sailors show appreciation for children during warrior days

Base Info
Staff Sgt. Austen P. Harms teaches his 5-year-old daughter Haleigh-Ann basic Marine Corps martial arts program techniques during a junior warrior day at Camp Kinser April 12. Throughout the day, children participated in many activities, including an obstacle course, martial arts and tricycle races. Harms is a motor transport maintenance chief with Combat Logistics Regiment 35, 3rd MLG, III MEF. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Anne K. Henry)
Staff Sgt. Austen P. Harms teaches his 5-year-old daughter Haleigh-Ann basic Marine Corps martial arts program techniques during a junior warrior day at Camp Kinser April 12. Throughout the day, children participated in many activities, including an obstacle course, martial arts and tricycle races. Harms is a motor transport maintenance chief with Combat Logistics Regiment 35, 3rd MLG, III MEF. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Anne K. Henry)

Marines, sailors show appreciation for children during warrior days

by: Lance Cpls. Henry J. Antenor and Anne K. Henry | .
Okinawa Marine Staff | .
published: April 20, 2013

Children sat and watched in awe as Marines performed a martial arts demonstration. With their eyes fixated on the action, the children’s anticipation grew before finally being given the opportunity to learn and perform the martial arts techniques.

Marines and sailors with Combat Logistics Regiment 3, Combat Logistics Battalion 4 and CLR-35 hosted warrior days on Camps Foster and Kinser April 12 in celebration of the Month of the Military Child. Each April, the Department of Defense recognizes the unique challenges and sacrifices made by service members’ children.

“Military children, youth and teens are an integral part of their military parents because they stand by them, they’re proud of them, they recognize their sacrifices, and they take on additional responsibilities to meet the needs of their families,” said Barbara Thompson, director of the DOD’s office of family policy, children and youth.

Since 1983, the DOD has recognized military children for the support they provide to their families. There are now 1.8 million children in the military system, according to Thompson.

The goal of the events on both camps was to provide the children an opportunity to experience portions of their parents’ professions through a variety of activities, such as obstacle courses, martial arts and visits to their parents’ offices and training areas.

“The children did some Marine Corps martial arts program training, as well as experienced other aspects of their parents’ lives,” said Brittany T. Coppinger, the family readiness officer with CLR-3, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force.

Throughout the events, children rotated through different activities, giving them an idea of their parents’ daily lives in the Marine Corps, whether it was practicing marital arts or visiting the motor pool.

“When their dad or mom comes home and tries to explain what they do, the children often times do not understand,” said Alejandra Martinez, a parent of a participating child at CLR-3 and CLB-4’s event. “It was nice that the kids got to see what their (parents do) as well as experience it together.”

For the children who participated, the events provided both a chance to step into their parents’ shoes (or more accurately, combat boots) and to meet other children who endure the same challenges.

“I enjoyed the MCMAP part the most,” said Lena M. Holt, a child participating in CLR-3 and CLB-4’s event. “It let me see how my dad is a warrior.”

Not only were the events good for the children and parents, it was also gratifying for the Marines and sailors who volunteered.

It is fulfilling to volunteer and work with the children, according to Lance Cpl. Justin F. Talley, an automotive maintenance technician with CLR-3.

Both events also served the purpose of showing how much the children are appreciated.

“Military children sacrifice a great deal,” said Christin Kardos, the family readiness officer with 3rd Maintenance Battalion, CLR-35, 3rd MLG. “Bringing them together through events like this gives them a chance to see the appreciation for them from the Marines, sailors, and most importantly, their parents.”