Role models emerge from America's Regiment

5 Feb 2001 | Sgt. Andrew D. Pomykal

The 8th Marine Regiment Headquarters was overrun Feb. 2., by 88 third, fourth and fifth graders.

Col. Maston M. Robeson, commanding officer 8th Marine Regiment, welcomed aboard the students from Queen's Creek Elementary School in Swansboro during Groundhog Job Shadow Day.

"This is part of our partnership program with Queen's Creek elementary," said regimental Sgt Maj. Ronald E. Fetherson.

The Charlotte, N.C. Marine added, "We also send Marines there every Tuesday to assist with the reading program."

8th Marines Family Readiness Coordinator Staff Sgt. Anthony K. Maxwell and 8th Marines Chaplain Cmdr. James E. Vinson of Woodland, N.C., organized the event.

"The kids come to see what it's like to be a Marine for the day," reported Maxwell of Andrews, Texas.

Marines and Sailors accompanied the students as "squad advisors" while they got  "free air time" with field phones, a five-ton truck ride, and "sent rounds down range" on the Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainer. There, the "wanna-be" gyrenes engaged targets with 9mm pistols, M16A2 rifles, M249 Squad Automatic Weapons and MK19 Automatic Grenade Launchers.

The squad advisors answered an onslaught of questions, taught cadence and marched the students around the area and took them to lunch at the 8th Marines chow hall.

Fetherson got a few eager candidates for recruitment while canvassing the crowd.
"Who wants to be a Marine?" he inquired.

Those who raised their hands received a unit coin for pledges of service.
Fetherson also issued timeless advice to the youngsters. "Listen to your parents and teachers, apply yourselves, do your best everyday and always respect others," he said.