A couple of Marines on deployment for the Crocodile 03 exercise in Australia recently took some time out from their busy schedules to show students at a Rockhampton school what all the fuss was about.

Sgt. Ray Innis and Lance Cpl. Carlos Ramos, both assigned to 3 Marine Expeditionary Force in the Shoalwater Bay Training Area, joined their Australian army and air force counterparts on a visit to the Rockhampton Special School, according to a Marine Corps news release.

“The children were very curious as to why there were so many helicopters flying around the area and why there were military personnel wearing different uniforms,” Australian Royal Air Force Squadron Leader Phil Dorvall said. “We wanted to give them a chance to meet some of the military personnel and explain to them what we do when we work together.”

About 2,700 members of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade are participating in Crocodile 03, a joint U.S.-Australian military exercise.

The Marines answered the students’ questions about their uniforms and equipment. They allowed some students to put on helmets, gas masks and flak jackets, said Lance Cpl. Monroe Seigle, a Marine combat correspondent.

As one child had his face painted and another donned a flak jacket, he added, the Marines showed the rest of the class how field rations are prepared.

“Along with seeing how the food was heated without the use of a stove or any kind of electricity, the students found it quite amusing to have a chance to sample several of the different meals available in the American Meals, Ready to Eat,” Seigle said.

“All these students are aware of all the military activity in the area, and they have asked us several questions,” said Cathy Thinee, a special-education teacher at the school. “We did not know what to tell them.

“The time the Marines took out of their schedule to pay us and our children a visit answered all of these questions and made their presence even more real. This shows the Marines are nice people and now the students realize what kind of people do the jobs the Marines must do.”

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