Marines, Sailors share military adventures with Harbordale Elementary School students

Marines, Sailors share military adventures with Harbordale Elementary School students

Skyler K. Becker, fourth grader of Harbordale Elementary School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., asks a question about the military to Cpl Joel A. Slaymaker, native of Lancaster, Penn., and amphibious assault crewman with 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., during a school visit to Harbordale Elementary School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Photo by Sgt Alicia R. Leaders.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (April 30, 2014) - Harbordale Elementary School students were in for a surprise when Marines and sailors walked into their classrooms dressed in their sharp, dress blue and white uniforms ready to answer any and all questions they had pertaining to the military.

Three Marines from 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion and 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., as well as sailors from the USS New York (LPD 21) and Carrier Strike Group 12, spoke to more than 450 Harbordale Elementary School students about their experiences in the military during a school visit, as part of a community relation's event during Fleet Week Port Everglades 2014.

"I started to think of some questions before the (Marines and sailors) came to the school, like ‘what would it be like if the ship sank,' ‘do you need to know your mathematics' and the basic school stuff," said Michaela Z. Lovejoy, second grader of Harbordale Elementary School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. "I've been wanting to ask military men and women about what they do, so I'll remember this experience by getting the chance to ask those questions."

When speaking to fourth-grade students, Cpl Joel A. Slaymaker, native of Lancaster, Penn., told them, "Not every mission is necessarily going to a fight or a battle, or is about bad stuff. It is about coming to visit you guys and showing you what we do, and spend time with you so you can learn about our jobs, and we can learn about you."

Michaela said she's never seen service members in person, and she has only seen them on TV or in the movies. The school visit allowed students to meet Marines and sailors for the first time, and were appreciative of their service.

"My first time seeing Marines (and Sailors) was today when they came to my school," said Skyler K. Becker, fourth grader of Harbordale Elementary School. "It's really cool because we are seeing people who are serving our country and risking their lives for us."

Harbordale students continued asking questions left and right. They asked a broad spectrum of questions, such as thunderstorms while being on ship, why the Marines and sailors joined the military, what kind of food they eat, what kind of gear gets loaded on the ship, and the students even asked about 9/11.

"The children are young, and they haven't experienced as much as we have, so we were there and told them what we do and what we did," said Navy Airman Apprentice Daniel Goodridge, native of Brooklyn, N.Y., and aviation boatswains mate (fueling). "It feels good to know that they're very intuitive and their eyes open up when we tell them something, and despite the fact that they weren't born, they still knew about 9/11. So the motto of the USS New York – Never Forget, it never really has gone away, and the stories just keep going and going, and people will keep talking about it."

Goodridge said he thoroughly enjoyed sharing his military experience with the students, and answering the questions. The Marines and sailors left a lasting impression on the students, and one they are happy to share with others.

"I am going to tell my parents all about the awesome experience of talking to the Marines and sailors," said Skyler. "This is going to be a really awesome memory of the fourth grade. I want to tell the Marines and sailors, ‘thank you for serving our country.'"

Marines.mil is the official website of the United States Marine Corps and is maintained by the Marine Corps' Division of Public Affairs.