Central Park gets greener: Marines land for 2nd Marine Corps Day

4 Jun 2004 | Cpl. Beth Zimmerman

More than 200 feature movies containing scenes in New York's Central Park have been released since 1908, making it the most filmed public park in the world. On May 29, Marines and New Yorkers filled Central Park's Rumsey Playfield for the 2nd Marine Corps Day in Central Park during Fleet Week 2004.Marines interacted with New York natives, veterans, and future Marines during the sunny day in Manhattan's 843-acre historic park. They also provided weapons displays and more insight into the Corps with job-related demonstrations."The dog demo really stood out in my mind," said 19-year-old Kate McGuire from the Bronx. "I saw the dog when we walked in, and I was a little intimidated by it." Sergeant Joe Evans and his 5-year-old canine partner, Staff Sgt. Barro, make up a Patrol and Explosives Detector Dog Team from Camp Lejeune, N.C. The two of them performed Marine Corps canine demonstrations for audiences at Marine Day. Evans and Barro demonstrated the unique ways they have of communicating. They also demonstrated that, like any other Marine, Barro is disciplined, and he responds with immediate attention to Evans' orders."I felt a little less intimidated by the dog because I knew it was very under control by him," said Kate. Her twin sister agreed. "It's good to see that they train them well enough to do as much as they do," said Rachel McGuire. "I thought he did a really good job showing that it's not too intimidating all the time," said Kate. "But that if it needs to be intimidating (or aggressive), it can."Evans wanted the audience to understand the unusual relationship the canine trainer and animal share. "I love getting out there and letting people know what we do with our dogs," said Evans. "It's a safety thing. People don't know how to act around our dogs," said the Yonkers native. "The more people I can tell about it, the better.""It gives a different view of the Marine Corps," Evans added. "It's definitely true professionalism. Our job is our job."Another Marine Corps demonstration provided an aspect of the Corps many people may already associate with Marines-martial arts."We did a series of movements from the martial arts program, from tan to black belt, just to show the public what Marines are learning today," said Staff Sgt. Daniel Winnie, Martial Arts Trainer and 1st-degree Black Belt from Camp Lejeune. "It shows them we're continuously training, keeping vigilant, and we can handle anything that happens."Kate McGuire was glad to see Marines perform martial arts up close. "At first, it was also pretty intimidating to see a bunch of Marines going at it," she said. "But it shows us this is what they do, and they're doing a good job defending us."Other Marines participating in the day's events appreciated the value of the public demonstrations. Pfc. James McMahon, Camp Lejeune, said the martial arts demonstration motivated him. "People see that there are different levels of force," he said. "It shows (the public) the level of dedication to the overall mission Marines have."Marines who spent the day at Central Park also met people they wouldn't normally encounter. "It was great interacting with the community," said Pfc. William McMonigle, barracks guard, Marine Barracks Washington. "It's definitely something we don't get to do in the barracks all the time."Mingling Marines and New Yorkers realized they weren't too different from each other. "Most people that I talked to would stop for a quick conversation," said McMonigle, a Queens native. "Then I'd say I'm from New York, and they'd get happier, cause they see someone from their hometown who's actually out there representing.""It's nice to see that the people (of New York) know you're there, and they're happy to see you," said McMahon. "It reaffirms our dedication to what we're doing."
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