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    MK Airbase showcases capabilities during Different School Week

    MK Airbase showcases capabilities during Different School Week

    Photo By Master Sgt. Alexander Burnett | Marine Lance Cpls. Robert P. Lennon (right) and Abraham Escobedo (left), both assigned...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Alexander Burnett 

    21st Theater Sustainment Command

    MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU, Romania - Romanian and U.S. service members and airport employees showcased their occupational specialties and unique service equipment during Different School Week at Mihail Kogalniceanu Airbase April 7-11.

    Different School Week is done all over Romania every year. The purpose is to get kids out of the classroom and learn in a different environment. There are many fieldtrips planned to different locations, said Air Force Maj. James J. Muniz, the deputy senior airfield authority for MK Airbase and a native of Houston.

    “We did not set this up on our own, but were asked to participate by the Romanian Military and civil airfield,” Muniz said. “It was very much a joint mission between the U.S. and Romanian militaries and the civil side of the airport.”

    The mission of military personnel hosting Romanian students ranging in age from six to 18 on MK Airbase was to show them the various Romanian and U.S. missions. Throughout the week, more than 800 Romanian students from 15 schools visited. They enjoyed static displays and interacted with U.S. Army, Marines, Air Force and Navy as well as Romanian Air Force.

    “Not only did the military get a chance to show off their unique missions here at MK, but the civilian airport also hosted these children,” Muniz said. “This is important because Romania is our host, and this is a great opportunity for us to show them what we do.”

    The Romanian children were free to explore several static displays from the tenant units of MK Airbase. The joint fire department, which includes Soldiers from multiple units and airmen from the 48th Civil Engineering Squadron, brought two fire trucks and let the students climb into the cab and use the sirens. The Air Force also showed off the front-mounted hoses by spraying water into the air.

    Security Forces airmen from the 52nd Security Forces Squadron and military police Soldiers from the 202nd Military Police Company, 93rd Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade brought a police squad car and showed the schoolchildren how to use the radio and external speaker systems. They also let the students try on their protective vests, helmets and masks. Finally, they let the kids try on their handcuffs and hold collapsible batons.

    “It was fun showing the kids how to use the loud speakers on our vehicle and hearing them talk to their friends from inside the squad car,” said Pfc. Tyheem A. Alphonso, a military policeman assigned to the 202nd MP Co. and a native of Brooklyn, N.Y. “They were all really excited to be here, and you could tell by the smiles on their faces they were having a good time.”

    The Romanian Air Force had their own static displays, showcasing the IAR-330 Puma helicopter and the MIG-21 Lancer jet. Children were allowed to climb into the jet’s cockpit and wear a pilot helmet and mask. As an added bonus, U.S. servicemembers were also afforded the opportunity to explore the Romanian aircraft.

    “Climbing into the jet was awesome,” said U.S. Army Maj. Edward A. Brown, the 21st Theater Sustainment Command’s Regional Support Element communications officer and a native of Greensboro, N.C. “Not many people will get an opportunity to see Romanian military equipment, let alone climb in and see it up close.”

    The Air Force’s 780th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron also highlighted their aircraft with a static displayed C-17 aircraft. Children were allowed to climb up the loading ramp, explore the cargo hold and see the cockpit. Some groups of schoolchildren even saw a C-17 take off from MK Airbase during their visit.
    The 780th EAS also displayed a de-icing vehicle, used to clear an aircraft’s external hull of ice, and elevated cargo loader, designed to raise personnel up to unload an aircraft.

    The Marine Corps’ Black Sea Rotational Force, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines brought a variety of vehicles and weapons for the Romanian schoolchildren to hold and see. They brought mortar tubes, M-240 and M-2 machine-guns, up-armored humvees, vehicle retrieval trucks and construction vehicles. The students could hold the weapons, look down optic scopes and climb into their various vehicles.

    “It’s great that these kids get a chance to come out here and hang out with us for a little while. Kids always enjoy getting to play with our weapons systems,” said Lance Cpl. Dylan B. Hanks, a squad leader assigned to BSRF and a native of Bel Air, Md. “This is also a good opportunity for them to meet us and see that we’re friendly.”

    As the week drew to a close, the groups of Romanian children left with a better understanding of U.S. and Romanian military capabilities and equipment.

    “This is nothing new to me since my father is in the Romanian Air Force, but my friends are very excited to see this,” said Julian Cozme, son of Romanian Air Force Maj. Vasile Cozme. “They are amazed by this.”



    Date Taken: 04.11.2014
    Date Posted: 04.11.2014 02:24
    Story ID: 125467
    Hometown: BEL AIR, MD, US
    Hometown: BROOKLYN, NY, US
    Hometown: ERIE, PA, US
    Hometown: GREENSBORO, NC, US
    Hometown: HOUSTON, TX, US
    Hometown: MIAMI, FL, US

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