Patriotic toddlers welcome visit from 3/4

21 Jun 2002 | Cpl. Julie A. Paynter

Marching military style with her singing classmates, one small girl's voice rises above the rest: "I may never march in the infantry, ride in the cavalry, shoot the artillery. I may never fly over the enemy, but I'm in the Lord?s army." Outgoing and spunky 3-year-old Morgan Clark sang patriotic songs as she and her Joshua Springs Preschool classmates, some as young as two-and-a-half years old, trooped to the front of the school building for a rare chance to see 15 of America's modern-day heroes up close June 12. Standing about a tenth of the size of the Marines and Sailors visiting her school that day, Morgan had no problem grabbing their hands as she and her classmates settled down for a presentation from the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines color guard. Loud and proud with her hand over her heart, she belted out the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag as the color guard presented colors.The Marines and Sailors showed each child the inside of a medical Humvee, what it feels like to lie on a stretcher, how to talk on a military radio, how to cook a Meal, Ready-to-Eat, and when and how to wear a gas mask. The children couldn't stop asking questions or trying on the equipment. Clint Humphreville, age 4, jumped at the chance to sit in the driver's seat of the medical Humvee. He made sure he was the first on board, flak jacket and Kevlar helmet on, and imagined where he would travel in such a vehicle. "I'm going to drive to the Army," said Clint. "I want to be a Army guy." Morgan sat down, cross-legged in the driver?s seat, making racecar-driving sounds. After her "ride" aboard the Humvee, Morgan relaxed on the vehicle's medical stretcher. The stretcher was there to show the children how Marines and Sailors transport their wounded during battle, but Morgan leaned back and enjoyed the ride, looking more like the Queen of Sheba, than a wounded Marine. All she was missing was a palm branch fan and a bunch of grapes. "Being here reminds me why I joined," said Lance Cpl. Rick E. Cherico, Headquarters and Service Company, 3/4. "One of the main reasons I joined the Marine Corps was to protect the freedoms of these children." This was radio operator Cpl. Jose A. Pereyra's first experience volunteering at a school with the Marine Corps. "They enjoyed the radios," said Pereyra. "The kids played with them and called each other. They also liked the ambulance and when we carried them on the stretcher." "I would volunteer again," said Pereyra. "I would also recommend other Marines get involved. It lets the community know what the Marine Corps is doing."
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