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Proud military kids train like parents Lance Cpl. Kasey Peacock

A child climbs through a tire during an obstacle course at the Proud to be a Military Child event on Camp Kinser April 6. The event incorporated different aspects of what Marines do on a daily basis, modified for children.

OKINAWA, Japan - For military kids, what their parents do on a daily basis can be a mystery. To better understand the daily routine of their parents, service members conducted a bring-your-kid-to-train day. The event gave the children a better understanding of what their parents do on a daily basis.

In lieu of April’s Month of the Military Child, family readiness officers from five different regiments and battalions invited service members and their families from their respective units to participate in a Proud to be a Military Child event at Camp Kinser April 6.

“We wanted to put this event together so children would have a better understanding of what their parents do on a day-to-day basis,” said Shanna L. Diep, family readiness officer for Combat Logistics Regiment 35, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “Seeing the kids smiling and having a good time out here today is what it is all about.”

The event incorporated different aspects of Marine training slightly modified for children. Stations included a bouncy-house obstacle course, tricycle course, water-balloon toss, MCMAP training, tug-of-war competition and low-crawling practice. The event also included a military working dog demonstration from the Provost Marshal’s Office and concluded with certificates for all the participants.

“This was a great opportunity for us to reassure to our kids how important they are,” said Lt. Col. Matthew A. Dumenigo, executive officer of CLR-35. “Service members can be away from their families a lot of the time with traveling and deployments. This event allowed the children to meet new friends and spend time with their parents, which they may not get to do very often, especially on Okinawa.”

More than 150 children with parents from Combat Logistics Regiment 3, Combat Logistics Battalion 4, 3rd Supply and Maintenance Battalions, CLR-35 and CLR-37, all part of 3rd MLG, attended the event.

“It was fun to come and see what my dad does every day,” said Joshua Diep, a participant in the event. “My favorite was the martial arts station.”

The Month of the Military Child was established by former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger to highlight the important role children play in the military community. The month is now celebrated every year throughout each branch of the armed forces around the world.

Following the event was an Easter egg hunt in which more than 2,200 eggs were scattered across the Camp Kinser commissary’s lawn for the children to find. The hunt was sponsored by Camp Services in conjunction with the FROs.

For more information on upcoming Month of the Military Child events, contact your units family readiness officer.


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Public Domain Mark
This work, Proud to be a military child, by LCpl Kasey Peacock, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:04.06.2012

Date Posted:04.12.2012 02:49

Location:OKINAWA, JP

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These Army families seem to thrive in the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade as the Pegasus brigade is represented by three of the five families who are finalists for the 2012 Fort Bragg Family of the Year.

The Trotter, Miller and Buckhalt Families were recognized by XVIII Airborne Corps Commander Lt. Gen. Daniel Allyn and his wife, Debbie, during the Fort Bragg Family of the Year award ceremony at Fort Bragg, Nov. 6.

“The nominations are a testament to how much the 82nd CAB families were invested during our most recent deployment. Deployments are the times when people can shine and they’re really needed,” said 82nd CAB Chaplain (Maj.) Stanton Trotter.

Stanton, his wife Lauri and their two daughters, Sierra, 8, and Hannah, 6, make up one of the 82nd CAB finalist families. Along with the husbands from the other two families, Stanton spent the better half of 2012 deployed to Afghanistan.

During his time overseas, Stanton, of La Palma, Calif., always found time to call home via Skype to talk with Lauri and the girls. He credits this commitment to allot time for each other to their family’s success.

“My hope is that others see that we focus on our family first,” Stanton said. “That is what charges the battery of our family.”

Though there were times when Sierra and Hannah missed their father, Lauri, of Woodbridge, Va., helped the girls to understand the family commitment. 

“I think the girls are learning that what we have in the military is a choice, and with that choice there are some sacrifices that come, but we as a family make that choice.” Lauri said. “When we can remember it really was our choice, it helps to get through some of those less pleasant times, the late hours, deployments and whatever else.” 

The Millers, with the 122nd Aviation Support Battalion, were also finalists for the family of the year. Chaplain (Capt.) Eric Miller and his wife Stephanie, of Allentown, Pa., have four children: Kathryn, 15, Julian, 13, Elizabeth, 10, and Abigail, 8. Miller is the chaplain for the 122nd ASB, and has been in the Army for two and a half years.

Although this is his first duty station since joining the Army, Miller and his wife are no strangers to military life.  Miller is a former Marine who served from 1992 to 1996. Serving in her own right, Stephanie has volunteered as a Family Readiness Group Advisor with the 122nd ASB for the past two years.

“Being relatively new to the Army, the Millers bring fresh energy to the 82nd CAB families,” Lauri said.

Eric and his wife consider themselves down-to-earth people with a normal family and life.  They were both very surprised and humbled when they received news they were nominated for the family of the year.

“We were shocked and consider it a huge honor.  We are ‘Team Miller’ and we just want to help where we can,” said Stephanie. “I believe every family is the family of the year.  If you have to walk in the shoes of a military Soldier, spouse or child, you understand how much sacrifice there is.  Parents have to work hard to keep the family together and on track, and kids have to endure the loss of their parent for long periods of time.  I believe military families are a special type of family and they all deserve to be recognized.”

As an Army Chaplain, Eric can share his understanding of family with many Soldiers.

“The key is to have a solid base at home that will help keep things going even when you can’t be there,” Eric said.  “I am blessed to have Stephanie.  She is a strong woman.  She has kept things together and running as normal as possible even when I can’t be here.  My children are strong and understand what it takes for me to do my job.  I could not do what I do without their support and understanding.”

With their years of military service on both sides of the table, the Buckhalts both know what it is like to support and understand a military spouse.

Capt. Allen Buckhalt is a UH-60 Blackhawk pilot who serves as the commander for Company B, 2nd Aviation Assault Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade. His wife, Maj. (Ret.) Bonnie Buckhalt, leads the company Family Readiness Group. The Buckhalt’s son, Joel, 18, is a member of the National Honor Society and the Varsity Soccer Team at Jack Britton High School. Their daughter, Ava, 4, played a big role helping Bonnie as she packed treats and care packages to send 82nd CAB Troopers during their deployment.

Allen, originally from Miami, believes the values that have strengthened his family have helped him in his role as a commander.

“What I’ve learned from my family I’ve applied to my military family,” Allen said. “Respect, love and taking care of one another are principles that are important to any successful family and team.”
Bonnie, a retired officer who grew up in a military family in Killeen, Texas, has experienced all sides of Army life.

“I have never had a phase of my life where the military hasn’t been a part of it. This whole process has made me reflect on my experience in the military and as a family member. During this time where the Army has deployed pretty often, I have been able to see how the family members must remain close to one another and support other families in the unit.”

As the Family Readiness Group leader for her husband’s company, Bonnie gets to know many of her unit’s family members first hand. This involvement guides Bonnie to understand her own family’s nomination as a depiction of her greater community. 

“It was humbling to be a finalist for the Fort Bragg Family of the Year,” Bonnie said. “We know so many tremendous families and we are honored to represent them.” 

Perhaps it is this pervasive modesty, expressed by the Trotters, Millers and Buckhalts, that makes the Army Family an icon so universally understood – a model with which soldiers and their loved ones so easily identify themselves on a daily basis.

This family identity will serve the 82nd CAB well as the brigade transforms to support the U.S. global response force, reshaping a conventional unit to a rapidly-deployable aviation asset, capable of responding to a wide variety of humanitarian and combat missions around the world with little notice.
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