- MCB Hawaii/ MCAS Kaneohe Bay
Marine For A Day: Operation Ooh-Rah Kids Gives Children A Taste Of The Corps
Story by LCpl Matthew Kirk on 03/30/2018
Marine Corps Family Team Building (MCFTB), Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS), hosted the "Operation Ooh-Rah Kids" event aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Mar. 23, 2018.
The event is held every year on base to provide children an opportunity to meet with and learn about being a member of the Armed Forces.
"There are over 100 children at this year's Operation Ooh-Rah Kids'," said Claudia LaMantia, a family team building readiness trainer with MCFTB. This year there were more than 20 representatives from off base that attended, LaMantia said.
The Marine Corps boot camp style event taught the children how to march, respond to their leadership when spoken to and gave the children information on what the military does on a daily basis.
LaMantia said the instructors for each group of children were service members from various units around the base.
"We marched them over and presented them displays of helicopters, firetrucks and other military vehicles," she said. "At each station, the instructors talked about what they do for the Corps, so the children can get a feel of what their parents do."
Capt. Matthew Dieska, a UH-1Y Venom helicopter pilot with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367, Marine Aircraft Group 24, volunteered for the event to show the children what the service members do on a daily basis.
"I'm teaching the children history on the aircraft I fly," Dieska said. "I'm also teaching them about the capabilities and our mission."
Dieska said that teaching the children about his job made him remember how much he wanted to be a Marine when he was a child.
"It allows me to connect back to my roots when I was a child," he said. "It's validation seeing children where I once was and where I'm at now. If there's a dream that they have, they should stick to it and not stop pursuing it."
Dieska said he was pleased with how his expectations were met coming into the event.
"It's been great having different groups of children come around and asking questions," he said. "They're very curious. They were also very excited to get in the aircraft and sit in the pilot seat."
LaMantia said the children sometimes have to deal with their parents being away and came to the event to learn about what the service members do while at home and forward deployed.
"We have a mix of children here," LaMantia said. "Through explaining to them what was going to happen, actually doing it, the children become more resilient with the adversity of different backgrounds we show them."