YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Lt. Col. Valrica Marshall-Quinones gathered her staff on Saturday for her last chance at celebrating an organization day with them.
Marshall-Quinones, commander of the 19th Military Police Battalion (Criminal Investigation Division), will turn over command on Thursday to Lt. Col. Jan Apo.
The organization day — basically a barbecue picnic — featured food, music and sports.
The special guests were about 15 orphans from the Saliseo Nanum Boys Home.
Capt. Brian Byrne, commander of the battalion’s Headquarters Headquarters detachment, said the battalion’s soldiers began interacting with the orphans about nine months ago.
He said it’s a good habit for “giving back to the community” and is part of the Good Neighbor Program.
The soldiers have been able to develop relationships with the children, Byrne said, and it’s nice to “see smiles.”
Marshall-Quinones said Saturday’s picnic precedes a weeklong leadership conference that troops under her command, including those stationed in Japan and on Okinawa, will attend.
The meeting is “a rare opportunity to bring everyone” together, she said, adding it’s difficult to gather the troops, “primarily because of the mission.”
The orphans seemed excited to be at the picnic and weren’t shy about practicing their English.