Photo Information

U.S. Marines stationed at Marine Corps Base (MCB) Camp Blaz and Uriah Perez, community liaison specialist at MCB Camp Blaz, pose with Finegayan Elementary School principal Mrs. Garcia Marites at Finegayan Elementary School, March 1, 2024. U.S. Marines and Mr. Perez from MCB Camp Blaz came together to promote healthy academic growth through constructive feedback and volunteer as part of the sister school partnership program. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Rey Moreno Marilao)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Rey Moreno Marilao

Marines from Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz volunteer in local schools

23 Apr 2024 | Lance Cpl. Ryan Little Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz

U.S. Marines remain 'always faithful' to their service and their community, and Marines stationed on Marine Corps Base (MCB) Camp Blaz embody that same 'semper fidelis' spirit. Over the past few weeks, Marines from MCB Camp Blaz volunteered with a several schools for events such as Career Fairs, Drill Competitions and Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) Fitness Challenges.

On Feb. 17, 2024, Marines volunteered to evaluate the JROTC Drill Competition. This competition was held at Okkodo High School and included Tiyan, Father Duenas, John F. Kennedy (JFK) and Southern High Schools. For the first time since 2011, the JROTC programs competed against one another and service members judged the events.

Blaz Marines evaluated the JROTC units on a variety of events such as unarmed, armed and color guard competitions participating in both regulation and exhibition routines. After careful evaluation from the volunteer service members, the judges awarded JFK High School as the overall winner of the competition, taking home eight of the nine events.

Retired U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Vincent Santiago, the senior Marine instructor for the Marine JROTC program at Okkodo High School, recognized the importance of the service members' presence at the event. “Having Marines volunteer sends the right message and example that Marines take pride in everything they do, especially influencing future Marines,” he said.

The following weekend, on Feb. 24, Marines joined by other service members volunteered for JFK’s JROTC Fitness Challenge. Following a successful Drill Competition, seven schools, each having two teams of 10-12 students, gathered at JFK High School to compete in a series of fitness events. The events pertained to each of the U.S. military branches fitness tests such as a mile run, obstacle course, pushups, sit-ups and planks.

Volunteers supervised the events, not only scoring, but at times participating and setting the example for the students. With a total of 73 service members volunteering, they showed their dedication to molding the next generation of leaders for military service or future careers.

Chief Master Sgt. Nicholas Taylor, 36th Wing command chief, spoke highly on the event. “What an amazing event and way for the military community to give back to the kids," he said. "Events such as these not only give the military community a great resource to influence these future service members, but it also acts as mental and physical challenge for those in JROTC, making sure that they become prepared for the grueling and difficult trainings the military has to offer."

Staying committed to community outreach, Marines set up a booth for Oceanview Middle School’s 2nd Annual Career Fair on Feb. 29. Marines from the administration and communication strategy and operations sections spoke to students about opportunities in the Marine Corps, laying out a variety of options of career fields and college paths. The students were assigned a “passport” in which they could visit different booths at the events and ask those representing each career about their jobs. Blaz Marines were able to talk with the students about what sets them apart from other branches, emphasizing dedication to country, community and readiness.

Blaz Marines take great pride in being able to give back to their island community. In addition to recent volunteer efforts, MCB Camp Blaz formed an official partnership with Finagayan Elementary School. Additionally, Marines participated in island beautification projects such as adopting and maintaining local bus stops, conducting beach cleanups, and helping the community after Typhoon Mawar.