TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. (12/3/2011) - Telling a small child that
their parent is deploying to Afghanistan can be hard, but so can
explaining where it is or what the culture is like.
Lance Cpl. Chacoi Jorge, heavy equipment mechanic, Combat Logistics Battalion 7, teaches Dari to children Mya and Skye as their father, Staff Sgt. Thomas Winson, staff noncommissioned officer in charge, Support Company, 3rd Combat Engineer Battalion, looks on during the Camp Desert Kids program Dec. 3, 2011. Photo by USMC Cpl. Andrew Thorburn
Military Families United holds a Desert Kids program to teach kids
about where their parents go on deployments.
“It is to take
away the mystery away from the kids,” said Robert Jackson, executive
director, Military Families United. “Because kids don't understand
when their parents are being deployed. They don't understand what it
is and where they go. There is a natural curiosity, and there is a
natural fear, especially with children.”
The information is
presented in a clever way to help them also enjoy what they are
“We march them through a mini-deployment,” Jackson
said. “They get their passports. Then they go through the briefing
for Afghanistan. They learn some basic phrases in Dari. They learn
how far away Afghanistan is from Twentynine
Palms. It's 7,700 miles.
“From there, they ‘go' to Afghanistan and taste some of
the food and tea. Then they vote on their favorite part so
they can understand they are not only there to keep the bad
guys away, but to help build a democracy,” he said.
“If you were to follow multiple kids through, each kid is
going to pick something different that they like the most,”
Jackson said. “Most like trying on the clothes and talking
with the cultural expert. We have not had one kid that I
have talked with that said their favorite part was the
children enjoyed their time learning about a foreign
country, the Marine volunteers had just as much fun
“It's cool because when you tell these kids
they are going to learn another language, they get all
excited,” said Lance Cpl. Chacoi Jorge, heavy equipment
mechanic, Combat Logistics Battalion 7.
Kids program has been to military installations all over the
country including at Fort Bragg, Marine Corps Base Camp
Pendleton and Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point. But the
program representative said, so far, the Combat Center has
been one of the most impressive installations.
folks are excellent,” Jackson said. “Usually we go to a base
and they will guarantee us 30, and only 10 show up. There
are 38 here today, and they are the ones that make this
By USMC Cpl. Andrew Thorburn
Marine Corps Air Ground Combat
Center, Twentynine Palms
Comment on this article