GUNSAN, South Korea --
Marines with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232 and Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 112 helped the local community while participating in Exercise Max Thunder by visiting an orphanage in Gunsan, South Korea, Oct. 29, 2013, and Nov. 5, 2013.
Approximately 40 Marines and 40 airmen participated in two separate visits to the orphanage.
“Marines are increasing their capabilities during Max Thunder, but are also able to look at the experience and learn some of the culture by meeting the people while they’re out here in South Korea,” said Lt. Travis Coffey, Marine Aircraft Group 12 deputy chaplain. “Part of our mission during Max Thunder is not only to train to fight with our allies, but to help maintain the positive relationship that the Air Force has already created with the local Gunsan community, which hosts this base.”
Children ran on the bus as the Marines and airmen arrived at the orphanage.
“The kids were very enthusiastic to see us,” said Cpl. Bret Beaty, communications specialist with VMFA-112. “I jumped on the trampoline with them and carried a few around on my back. We spent some quality time playing with the kids and setting a positive example.”
Service members brought a special present in an effort to leave the kids feeling as excited as when they arrived.
“After about an hour of us doing various activities with all the children, we lined up and passed out candy to all the kids, even though it was probably close to their bed time,” said Beaty.
Despite being hit with water balloons and turned into a human horse, Beaty said he enjoyed his experience with the children and was glad that he took time out of his week to participate.
Beaty also said events like this gave Marines a chance to see there is more than just the war-fighting side of the Marine Corps and that it is also an organization devoted to helping people.
“It’s a rich and deep way to be able to take something away from this exercise, besides just being more skilled at a job,” said Coffey. “They will be able to have that relationship that they’ve built and they will have that for the rest of their lives.”