Local Tinian students get taste of Marine Corps life

by Lance Cpl. Luis Ramirez
Valiant Shield 2014

TINIAN, North Marianas Islands – Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 participating in Valiant Shield 2014 visited the Tinian Junior Senior High School Sept. 14.

The Marines gave students a taste of Marine recruit training, taught them about different military occupational specialties and introduced them to various military vehicles.

“We selected events that would give the students a broad look into the Marine Corps, varying from teaching students about communications, motor transportation and aircraft rescue firefighting to demonstrating Marine Corps martial arts, a partial (combat fitness test) and close order drill,” said 1st Lt. Alexander Cloninger, the logistics officer with MWSS-171, Marine Aircraft Group 12, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force.   

During the field meet, each group of students rotated through stations where Marine mentors explained different aspects and answered questions.

“It’s a great experience for the kids,” said retired Army 1st Sgt. Pete Salas, senior army instructor for the school’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Course. “When the Marines come here, they show the students that the military is not just kicking down doors. That sparks an interest with the students - they see that there is a lot more to being in the infantry.”

According to Salas, having service members come to the school helps students who are considering joining the military by showing them what they can be, and what they can do, from being in a firefight to being a firefighter.

“I enjoyed being out here,” said Cpl. Jonathan Charles, an clerk with the squadron. “It’s not often that you get the opportunity to help kids follow their dreams. This is something I would love to keep doing during my time on Tinian.”

Valiant Shield is a U.S.-only exercise integrating U.S. Navy, Air Force, Army and Marine Corps assets, offering joint operational experience to develop capabilities that provide a full range of options to defend U.S. interests and those of its allies and partners.

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