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Navy Lt. Alexander J. Cho introduces Marines and sailors to the children at Tinian Elementary School during a community relations event Dec. 4. The service members are on Tinian for Exercise Forager Fury II. The series of exercises which Marine Aircraft Group 12 is conducting in the Mariana Islands focus on refining core skills within the squadrons and MAG. This, in turn prepares them to function as an integrated air unit able to perform a wide range of missions. The service members volunteered to spend time with the children by playing games and teaching life lessons. Cho is a Chaplain with Marine Wing Support Squadron 171, MAG-12, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force.

Photo by Cpl. Joseph Karwick

Service members volunteer time at Tinian Elementary School

5 Dec 2013 | Cpl. Joseph Karwick

Marines and sailors volunteered their time from their daily routine to participate in a Dec.4 community relations event at the Tinian Elementary School. 

The service members on Tinian are participating in exercise Forager Fury II, and are clearing Tinian’s North Field to land aircraft.

The purpose of exercise FF II is to employ and assess combat power generation and operations in a deployed, austere and unimproved environment. 

“For our Marines, it definitely builds morale, getting out of the field, helping the public and seeing what Tinian is all about,” said Navy Lt. Alexander J. Cho, Chaplain with Marine Wing Support Squadron 171, Marine Aircraft Group 12, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force from Wayne, NJ. “For the students, they get (extra) positive influences and role models who can show them what we do and how we live our lives.”

The staff of Tinian Elementary School also appreciated the presence of the Marines and sailors who volunteered their time.

“It was really neat to see the Marines in the classrooms with the children, answering their questions and playing games with them,” said Vanna Aldan, a student services provider. “For most of the children, this is their first time seeing Marines in real life.”

The volunteer group consisted of Marines and sailors from, chemical biological radiological and nuclear defense, food service specialists, motor transportation and various other military occupational specialties within MAG-12. 

The service members read stories, answered questions and even let the students try on some of our equipment,” according to Sgt. Garret Arrieta, CBRN defense chief with MWSS-171. The Marines explained some of their jobs and played sports.

“For each service member, by spending time with children gives back its own reward,” said Arrieta. “I love spending time with the children, it’s good to get a break from the normal day. We have a chance to see all the children smiling, they love it, and we love it.

“This was one of those rare opportunities where we get to give back and you could clearly see that the children loved it.”

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