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Language barriers crumble during CLR-35 field meet

10 Sep 2013 | Lance Cpl. Anne Henry

OKINAWA, Japan - Excitement was in the air as children shouted-out in delight as they rounded the bases during a competitive game of kickball, cheered on by U.S. Marines.

Children between the ages of 5 and 16 from the Tai Chu En Orphanage participated in a field meet hosted by Combat Logistics Regiment 35 Aug. 25 at Camp Kinser.

CLR-35 is part of 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force.

“We like to do something with the children once a month,” said Lt. Cmdr. Harvey Macklin, the CLR-35 chaplain. “Our goal here today is to bridge gaps, and by coming out here and doing athletic events, we can do it.”

The day was filled with different summertime activities, which both the children and Marines participated in, including kickball, swimming and soccer.

“It is great for the children to come out here, do something constructive, and spend time with the Marines,” said Yoshino Uehara, an event volunteer and orphanage employee.

Volunteer opportunities not only benefit the surrounding community, but they also offer Marines positive ways to spend their time, which allows them to get out of the barracks and help the local community.

“I think it is great for us and the kids to come out here,” said Lance Cpl. Austin D. Adams, a supply administration and operations specialist with the regiment. “I love coming out here and seeing the difference we make. The response we get from the kids, how happy they are to be out here playing sports, is wonderful.”

The day provided the children with different, constructive activities while also spending time with the Marines.

“I am enjoying being here today with the Marines,” said Aika Hiyana, an 11-year-old Tai Chu En resident. “My favorite parts so far have been the kickball and swimming.”

As the day drew to a close, the children and Marines anticipate having another field meet and more opportunities to interact both at the Tai Chu En Orphanage and at Camp Kinser.

“Watching the walls breaking down was amazing to see and be a part of,” said Macklin. “Even though we may have a language barrier to overcome, we do not have a friendship barrier.”

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