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Petty Officer 2nd Class Reuben Oliva, corpsman, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, does a frontflip onto a velcrow wall while in a velcrow suit during the Little Patriots Embraced Youth Tour event held at Del Valle Field, March 22, 2014. Oliva began participating to help make the children feel safer jumping onto the wall.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Charles Santamaria

Little Patriots Embraced host youth fitness tour aboard Combat Center

22 Mar 2014 | Lance Cpl. Charles Santamaria Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

Children rushed toward the stage after the performance reached it’s peak. They listened attentively as the performer belted famous contemporary hits. She invited several of the kids from the crowd on stage to participate in the performance and make them part of the experience. Smiles covered each of the children’s faces as they joined in on songs from contemporary artists and danced alongside Lexie Saal, a singer and song writer from New York, during the concert of the Little Patriots Embraced Military Youth Fitness & Music Tour, March 22, 2014.

The event was held at Del Valle Field where coordinators encouraged fitness with a run and walk around the track, games and events for children to participate in. Lexie Saal’s performance concluded the event.

“We travel the country to visit military bases and give our thanks to military families for everything they do,” said Carol Watanabe, founder and executive director, LPE. “The tour encourages youth fitness with different stations that keep them in motion and ended with a great performance from Lexie Saal.”

The event was for family members of all ages and provided a great opportunity for families to be outside and enjoy their day.

“I think the main focus of this program was to have the kids enjoy their time with their family, so it was a great recreational event especially for families of Marines and sailors who are deployed,” said Celina Laserna, special events coordinator, Marine Corps Community Services, “The Marines who volunteered were fantastic and I could tell by the looks on the children’s faces that they were having a good time.”

LPE will visit 15 military bases of all branches by the end of the nationwide tour, but the coordinators are looking forward to increasing the frequency of the tour. Some challenges came with traveling across country for the group, but their determination to make the tour happen for bases all over the United States overcame any obstacle that came their way.

“There’s always challenges that come with traveling but this is just the beginning,” Watanabe said. “The Combat Center is only our second base on the tour and we just want to let everyone on this base know that we thank them for everything they do for our country. We hope that our tour grows every year and that we can reach even more families with each visit to make their day with their family something to remember.”

For more information on the Little Patriots program visit

Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms