News: Marines learn value of volunteering during Cobra Gold 2014
PATTYA, Thailand - U.S. Marines volunteered for humanitarian and civic assistance engagements in Pattaya, Kingdom of Thailand Feb. 20 during Exercise Cobra Gold 2014.
“It’s good for our Marines and sailors to go out and volunteer,” said Lt. Steven Hervey, a chaplain with Headquarters Battalion, 3d Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “One of the leadership traits [in the military] is unselfishness and [these engagements are] about building that leadership quality into their lives.”
Throughout the week, Marines visited students at Ban Kor Mor Ha school and Father Ray’s Foundation where they played schoolyard games and taught English.
Some U.S. service members helped the children brush-up on their English with flash cards and games while others played soccer, hula-hoop, and ping pong outside.
“I’m from a small town and never in my life did I think I would be in Thailand,” said Lance Cpl. Kirstian Kately, a distribution management Marine with Combat Logistics Battalion 4, Combat Logistics Regiment 3, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III MEF. “Not a lot of people can say I went to Thailand and taught English.”
At Father Ray’s Foundation, U.S. Marines also played sports and taught English.
“There is a long-standing history with U.S. service members volunteering at Father Ray’s,” said Derek Franklin, a public relations representative for the Foundation. “They’ve been visiting since the Vietnam War.”
Marines were treated to the skills of young athletes from Father Ray’s with demonstrations of Muay Thai kicks and punches. The technique can trace its roots centuries back within the Thai culture.
Teaching English and interacting with the Thai community turned out to be an enjoyable experience for the service members involved.
“It gets you out of the military mindset for a while and out of the daily grind,” said Lance Cpl. David Brumfield, a military policeman with 3rd Law Enforcement Battalion, III MEF Headquarters Group, III MEF.
Many Marines have young family members back in the States and spending time with these children makes them feel at home, said Hervey.