News: Hard charging children give war face on Young Warrior Day
Story by Lance Cpl. Cayce Nevers
IWAKUNI, Japan - Children of servicemembers, ages six and up, grew closer to their parents as they spent the day going through Young Warrior Day here, Oct. 13, 2012.
Young Warrior Day is an event which allows children to experience what their parents do as Marines.
The children went to the Indoor Small Arms Range to learn about weapons systems, went through gear orientation, saw Aircraft Rescue Firefighters perform and put out a fire, ate Meals Ready to Eat, saw a Provost Marshal’s Office K-9 demonstration, used camouflage paint on their faces and performed a modified Combat Fitness Test.
“I did this a few years back and I had a blast,” said Maria Calderon, 13, Young Warrior Day participant. “I liked painting our faces and I also like eating the MREs because they are good.”
Young Warrior Day not only gives the children of Marines and sailors an idea of basic activities performed by servicemembers, but also gives them a new outlook on the difficulties of being in the military.
“We started planning for this about a month and a half ago,” said Lt. Col. Lance Lewis, H&HS commanding officer. “We started off by asking, ‘How many events do we want to do?’ there is all this stuff we wanted to show the kids. We were only going to make it a half day, but there was just too much we wanted to do so it ended up being an all-day thing.”
Although Jane Wayne Day, a day where spouses see into the life of a Marine, is more hands-on, Young Warrior Day takes on the same general concept, but for children.
“I think the kids felt great about today,” said Lewis. “We had a ton of them out here, maybe 45 to 50 kids out here. They had a lot of fun, a great appreciation for what mom or dad do, and now they have a taste of what it’s like to be a Marine. They got dirty, painted their faces. I think and hope they went away with a great feeling. Seeing the looks on their faces all day, it seems like they did.”
Dirty, sweaty and exhausted, the children left Young Warrior Day smiling and motivated about the knowledge they received.
“I feel like the day went great, everything went smooth, everything went like clockwork, the kids got to see so many different things,” said Lewis.