MCAS Futenma Marines demonstrate career paths
KIN TOWN, OKINAWA, Japan -- Red lights flash and water jets out of a mounted water turret, to the delight of a group of children, who crowd around a stationary fire truck on a flight line., They peer up through the windows to get a closer look at the demonstration of its tools and components. Marines don safety equipment and jump into the truck, water turret blasting, as the children cheer and count down the Marines’ time.
Marines with aircraft rescue and fire fighting demonstrated the safe use of equipment for students of E.C. Killin Elementary School, Camp Foster, Okinawa during a tour of the ARFF Station May 8 on Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, Japan.
Many children view the military as a purely combat-oriented job and are not aware of the many roles service members fill, according to Sgt. Timothy J. Olson-Costello, a section chief with ARFF, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, MCAS Futenma.
The tour provided a hands-on, action-oriented demonstration of one of the many career fields that can be pursued either as a service member or civilian.
“It gives the kids a chance to get out of the classroom and see what we actually do,” said Olson-Costello, a Palmdale, California, native. “We are giving them a little of our time for a big investment in their future.”
The ARFF Marines showed the students how to use hand lines, also known as fire hoses, mounted water turrets and the proper use of various personal protective equipment, such as gas masks, helmets with face shields and proximity equipment.
The tour supplemented the Department of Defense school system’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mechanics Program. The program was founded in response to a study in 2013 by the National Research Council which concluded that the modern work force is lacking in STEM career fields.
The DOD school system has implemented the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mechanics Program to educate children on career opportunities within STEM career fields, according to Jennifer S. Potter, a volunteer with E.C. Killin Elementary School.
“It’s good for (the children) to see what they can aspire to be someday,” said Potter, a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, native. “We are trying to inspire children to pursue these (careers).”
After the demonstrations, the students had the opportunity to explore the fire truck, and wear the fire fighting equipment. They were able to see the fire hoses in action, and practice their fire extinguishing techniques on imaginary fires.
At the end of the tour, the students gathered in front of the fire truck and posed for photos with the ARFF Marines wearing their fire safety equipment.
“The (ARFF Marines) are a great inspiration for the children and they are so excited,” said Potter. “They’re great role models for the children…taking the time to spend the day with them means everything. It’s going to be a day that they remember for the rest of their lives.”
The ARFF Marines waved as the beaming students lined up behind the volunteers and left the station.
“It’s really good to give back to these kids, because they look up to us,” said Lance Cpl. Jacob A. Clark, an ARFF Marine and a Newport, Rhode Island, native. “They are the ones whose career decisions have the biggest impact on the future.”