MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. -- Hangar walls echoed with little kid laughter as more than 100 children participated in Marine Aircraft Group 16’s Junior Jarhead Day aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., June 8.
Junior Jarhead Day is designed to give the unit’s children a taste of the Marine Corps experience.
Marine volunteers led platoons that were split up by age to different stations where they learned about things Marines do every day.
“We got a bunch of kids from all over and they became a unit,” said Sgt. Alexander Antongiorgi, a volunteer platoon leader with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 465 and a Tampa, Fla., native. “It was great to see them interact.”
Children got to learn about the MV-22B Osprey and the CH-53E Super stallion. Children also learned about Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting and military working dogs.
Marines showed the platoons how to wear camouflage paint and took them through a miniature obstacle course. The platoons each tried Meals Ready to Eat and experienced what it’s like to see a drill instructor for the first time.
“They got to see what their [mom or] dad does working in the Marine Corps,” said Staff Sgt. Matthew Loyd, a parent of a child participating and a Burlington, Calif., native. “I think they had a blast. If you look at the faces of these kids, they’re exhausted but still excited.”
Spouses and children get to learn while interacting and building friendships which brings the Marine Corps family closer as a whole, explained Antongiorgi.
“The biggest thing families should take away is that the Marine Corps is our job, but we don’t exclude our families from it,” said Loyd. “Families are the most important thing but, you can’t include your family if you don’t get involved [with your unit].”