JOINT BASE ANACOSTIA-BOLLING, Washington, D.C. –
Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling welcomed students and parents from Brent Elementary School for a military appreciation event Nov. 6, 2021.
U.S. Air Force, Army and Coast Guard members led stations at the pavilions in Giesboro Park to introduce the students to different aspects of military life.
Lindsay McDonough, a JBAB military spouse and member of the Brent Parent Teacher Association, coordinated the event.
“I feel like we have a large military population at the school, and it’s a large part of our kids’ upbringing that I'd like to share with Brent Elementary,” said McDonough. “I think we need to lessen the civilian and military gap. Events like this help bring awareness to all sides of life and immerse our kids in other cultures.”
To open the event, the United States Air Force Honor Guard Colors Flight displayed the nation’s flag and the U.S. Air Force flag while a member of The United States Air Force Band sang the national anthem. Following that, the Drill Team showed the students and families of Brent Elementary their skill and discipline.
The Drill Team promotes the Air Force mission by showcasing drill performances at public and military venues. Members of the drill team fielded questions and interacted with guests following their drill performance.
After performances by the Band, Drill Team and Color Guard, students learned military drill and stationary movements.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jessica Kelley, administrative NCO to the sergeant major of the Army, taught children how to march, salute, and stand at attention and parade rest.
“One of my sergeant majors asked me to be here today,” said Kelley. “I was intimidated but mostly excited. It reminds me of why I joined, just seeing these kids be so enthusiastic.”
For some children and families, this was their first time visiting a military installation.
“This is our first time on base. It’s amazing,” said Katie Deprophetis, mother of a Brent Elementary first grader. “We’re really happy to see our daughter’s friends and learn more about their way of life.”
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Timothy Reintzell, United States Air Force Honor Guard, led a flag-folding ceremony and interacted with the attendees throughout the event.
Through this experience he hopes that the children can see the care, dignity and respect amongst service members, said Reintzell.
“Today has been amazing. Some kids may take this on with them and 20 years from now decide that they want to join the military,” said Reintzell.
Many civilian families never experience immersion into the military lifestyle. Likewise, many families of active-duty military members may not venture off the installation to interact with the civilian community and enjoy the surrounding areas.
Events like this one help to build and maintain relationships between military installations and the communities that surround them, fostering support and understanding of military missions and culture.