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Students Visit Marine Corps Combat Center
by U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Ali Azimi - March 28, 2014

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TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - The Adopt-a-School program is one of the many community events that units aboard the Combat Center actively support. The program introduces students to Marines as they exercise and play at their schools. The environment of the Marine-student relationship changed when students from local schools got a taste of the Corps during a visit to the Combat Center.

Students from Condor, Oasis, Onaga, Palm Vista and Twentynine Palms Elementary schools visited the base on March 12, 2014 to watch the Battle Colors Ceremony at Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Gray Field. The schools were split up to spend time with Marines after the ceremony.

Dillion Smith, 11, and fellow students from Palm Vista Elementary student explore an M1A1 Abrams Tank during the school's visit to 1st Tank Battalion’s tank ramp on March 12, 2014. The battalion adopted Palm Vista as part of the Adopt-a-School program and invited them to see a number of static displays after the Battle Colors Ceremony. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Ali Azimi)
Dillion Smith, 11, and fellow students from Palm Vista Elementary student explore an M1A1 Abrams Tank during the school's visit to 1st Tank Battalion's tank ramp on March 12, 2014. The battalion adopted Palm Vista as part of the Adopt-a-School program and invited them to see a number of static displays after the Battle Colors Ceremony. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Ali Azimi)

The Battle Colors Ceremony is an annual event at the Combat Center. The Battle Color Detachment is comprised of the Marine Corps Drum and Bugle Corps, the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon and the Marine Corps Color Guard. They are a symbol of Marine Corps discipline and history.

The Drum and Bugle Corps, also known as “The Commandant's Own,” is made up of 85 distinguished Marines who are recruited from civilian drum corps, marching bands and other musical units within the Marine Corps.

“Even if you've seen it 20 times, it's still impressive the 21st time,” said Gen. David H. Berger, Commanding General, Combat Center.

Every move and sound made was harmonized with their fellow Marines. It was an impressionable experience to approximately 500 students filling the bleachers. For some of them, it was their first time attending the ceremony, but for others it was a repeat performance they were happy to attend.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Dillion Smith, 11, Palm Vista Elementary student. “I went to it last year and I want to go again next year.”

After the performance, the Marines stayed on the field as the kids rushed up to them. They answered the students' questions, took pictures with them and the Bugle Corps Marines allowed them to try out their instruments.

Soon it was time to go, but their visit to the Combat Center was not over.

Four of the schools headed to Del Valle Field where they enjoyed their lunches and played soccer and football with Marines from 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, and Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School.

As they played on the field, the students from Palm Vista Elementary School headed to the compound of their adopted unit, 1st Tank Battalion.

The unit regularly visits the school as part of the program but on this trip, the students were able to see where their 1st Tanks Marines worked.

“My first time volunteering was probably three months ago,” said Lance Cpl. Byron Peterson, supply administrative specialist, 1st Tanks. “I go to Adopt-a-School every two weeks.”

The battalion set up multiple static displays of several M1A1 Abrams Tanks, Humvees, 7-ton trucks and their communication equipment.

The students explored the vehicles inside and out, while 1st Tank Marines taught them about the iron giants.

“I enjoy the fact that they're enjoying it,” Peterson said. “It's good to have them out here and see what we do.”

The day finally ended with the departure of the buses back to their schools. Although they had to say goodbye, they will soon be reunited at the next Adopt-a-School event.

By U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Ali Azimi
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2014

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