CAMP HANSEN, Okinawa, Japan --
Marines with III Marine Expeditionary Force volunteered at the Young Marine Battalion Field Meet in Okinawa, Japan, May 13, 2017. The meet included team building exercises, which allowed interaction between local Okinawan children and American children who participate in the Young Marines Program.
The Okinawan children joined the Young Marines on base to participate in team-building activities, and view static displays of military equipment and simulated attack procedures by military working dogs.
“The great thing about this battalion field meet is it not only is it the Young Marines getting together from the two different units here in Okinawa, but it also extends the invitation to some of the local communities,” said retired U.S. Marine Corps Col. Bill Davis, National Executive Director of the Young Marines program. “It’s really enjoyable to see children both inside and outside the fence line getting together and having a great time.”
The Young Marines program is a national nonprofit organization that focuses on character building and leadership and promotes a lifestyle that is conducive to being productive members of society.
“Our program focuses on leadership using the Marine Corps ethos, citizenship through community service, and living a healthy drug free lifestyle,” said Davis
The Young Marines and Okinawan children were able to interact with each other while also enjoying the displays and obstacles arranged by III MEF Marines.
“We were just showing them some of our robot platforms and our ordnance Items that have been [disarmed],” said Sgt. Andrew Mattson, an explosive ordnance disposal technician who volunteered at the field meet. “It’s really cool to work with the kids; they were actually picking up the concepts of working the gear really quick.”
The event was a success and not only allowed the children to build camaraderie but also gave the Marines a chance to volunteer and spend time with the local children, according to Davis.
“You have all these motivated Marines who are out here taking time off on a weekend to help these kids have a good time, they could be in the barracks they could be doing other things, they could be out in town, but here they are volunteering their time, talk about semper fidelis,” said Davis.