Kids spend day with tanker dads

29 Nov 2001 | Sgt. Joshua S. Higgins

On any normal day children would be at school or daycare. But not on this day, this day they are playing Marine with dad.

On a chilly November morning here at 2d Tank Battalion recently, the command held its first ever "Kids to Work Day."

More than 100 children participated in the event to experience what their fathers do at work on an everyday basis. The idea, according to the battalion's senior enlisted member Sgt. Maj. Anthony E. Jenkins of Charleston, S.C., was based on the command's desire to bring the battalion closer as a family by getting the Marines' extended family involved with their everyday job.

"The day was outstanding," said Jenkins. "The kids had a great time and enjoyed the opportunity to see what their fathers do for a living."

Throughout the day the children took part in M1A1 Tank rides down a dusty trail known as the "tank ramp," manipulating the 15,000 pound crane of a Logistics Vehicle System (LVS), rides in other tactical vehicles such as the Humvee, M923, and the Marine Corps' newest piece of equipment, the Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR). The children also enjoyed operating a tank simulator.

"This has been really fun, especially when I got to sit in the hatch while riding in the tank," said Jeffrey Niski, 12-year-old son of 2d Tank Bn. chief corpsman Chief Petty Officer Michael E. Niski.

Lt. Col. Michael J. Oehl, 2d Tank Bn. commanding officer, was very pleased with the outcome of the day and took the opportunity to note that "You enlist Marines, but you reenlist families."

"If kids have a good appreciation for what their father does then he is more apt to reenlist," said the Long Island, N.Y. native. "We want to build this family from the bottom up."

Every child had a smile on their face at the end of the day as they received a certificate declaring them official M1A1 Tank crewman.