Foster Marines laugh at safety briefing
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — It was standing room only for Marines "Beating the Blues" with laughter at the Camp Foster theater Friday.
In recent years, military leaders and Marine Corps Community Services have called on humor to replace the death-by-PowerPoint method of delivering its annual holiday safety campaign message.
Chuckles rang throughout the audience Friday as video clips from YouTube and other Internet sites were used to illustrate points. But some of the "Beating the Blues" presentation drew somber reactions.
Clips from Okinawa Prefecture traffic cameras showing pedestrian, motorcycle and vehicle accidents drew groans as speakers cautioned troops to remember the differences of driving in Japan. As of last week, the Okinawa prefecture had recorded 6,000 traffic accidents, speakers said.
And a music video of "Hold On" by Good Charlotte illustrated the effects of suicide on loved ones left behind.
The program was targeted to junior servicemembers, said Lt. Col. James Howard, executive officer for Headquarters and Service Battalion, Marine Corps Bases Japan.
Troops at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni must attend a similar presentation, called "Keeping Spirits Alive."
"It keeps the younger Marines engaged," Howard said of the Camp Foster briefing for III Marine Expeditionary Force troops. "It’s a very effective means of getting annual training done."
Without the humor, it’s a lot of information, and it would have been easy to fall asleep, said Lance Cpl. Gerson Alavez of Combat Logistics Regiment 3.
MCCS also is putting the presentation onto DVDs to be distributed in December to units that couldn’t make it.
He said the goal is to ensure that all Marines "come back safe and healthy and ready to go in 2009."