MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Oasis Elementary School students made the first-ever visit to the Combat Center, May 6, 2014.
Thanks to a partnership between the school and the Combat Center, the base opened its gates to students for a visit.
“Normally, each year the 6th-graders go to a science camp for three or four days,” said Gary Horn, acting chair, School Site Council. “Unfortunately, this year they weren’t able to raise the money. We were looking for different ways we can substitute science camp.”
The staff said they were grateful for the opportunity to learn on the base to substitute the canceled trip.
The base visit was part of a three-day series of events, taking students to different parts of the base and work with units to learn through demonstrations and practical application.
“They get to see things with a hands-on approach on everything,” Horn said. “It reinforces what they learned in school.”
More than 60 students were guided around by their Adopt-a-School Marines from 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, during the multiple-day visit to learn about the science behind the base.
Their first day revolved around the base’s environmental efforts.
They were taken to the Combat Center’s Recycling Center and the Waste Water Treatment Center. The students learned about everything from the recycling of industrial and everyday materials to how the base regulates its water in the desert.
“Its was pretty cool,” said Paige McAdams, 6th-grade student, Oasis Elementary School. “We went and saw scraps of bombs. It’s a little bit more than I’ve been taught. I learned some new stuff.”
Their second day led them to the Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School, where the students learned about closed circuits, frequencies and the many types of radios and equipment that the Corps uses to keep in contact during hostile situations.
The students were split up into different stations and allowed to try the equipment themselves to communicate with their classmates across the room.
From there they were taken to Felix Field, where they visited the Curation Center and nature gardens, where they learned about the natural environment of the Hi Desert.
After each group had cycled through each station, they all met on the softball fields where they were welcomed by Marines and officers with the Provost Marshal’s Office, and their military working dogs. The officers demonstrated the abilities and discipline of their canines in front of the crowd of awe-struck 6th graders.
The students last day at the Combat Center also attracted 3/4 Marines. They set up a series of classes to teach kids about living in the field and survival skills. But first they had to look the part. With the help of the Marines, the students applied camouflage paint to their faces and went on to the different stations.
“This gives them a chance to hang out with the Marines and see what they do,” Horn said.
In addition to the survival classes, instructor trainers from Combat Center units set up a demonstration of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program. Marines de-bloused to demonstrate the many techniques they use to subdue an opponent. They focused key lessons, such as how leverage and pressure points are used during the techniques.
After the lessons and demonstrations, the Marines and students sat down together for the field food that service members are so accustomed to. They helped the students open their Meals, Ready-to-Eat and taught them how to use the heating apparatus to make a hot lunch.
With the completion of their afternoon meal, the students headed to the last stop of their three-day visit.
EOD Marines attached to Marine Wing Support Squadron 374 set up a demonstration of their improvised explosive device diffusing robot, TALON, and their bomb suit at Camp Wilson. The students waited anxiously in line to try on the suit and operate the TALON.
MWSS-374 opened up its doors to the elementary school students for a Crash, Fire and Safety Demonstration. The Marines explained the procedures and safety measures they abide by during emergency situations.
At the end of the demonstrations, the students boarded their bus to return to school with a better understanding of science and its applications to the Marine Corps.
“They have a better understanding from seeing something or doing something what the background process is,” Horn said. “I hope we are able to do this again and that all schools through the district are able to come out and see what is available here on base.”