MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU MILITARY BASE, Romania --
Children laughing and playing; United States Marines drenched from their turn in the dunk tank, sailors jumping with kids in a bounce house, these were the sights and sounds aboard Mihail Kogalniceanu military base as Marines and sailors of Black Sea Rotational Force 12 volunteered to spend their Independence Day with orphaned children from the local community of Constanta, Romania, July 4.
The day began with the children being escorted by smiling Marines and sailors to the base athletic field where they skipped rope, played tug-of-war, and climbed aboard multiple displays of Marine Corps vehicles and equipment. After a performance from the Romanian Naval Academy band the servicemembers and a group of local volunteers joined the children in various activities.
“It’s really nice to see [the children] playing with the Marines,” said Marianne Crossman, a volunteer and Dayton, Ohio native. “It shows a softer side of the [United States] military.”
At the hottest point of the day, the children and volunteers were invited to the base dining facility to enjoy a traditional Independence Day meal of hot dogs, hamburgers and potato salad prepared by the Kellog, Browning and Root staff members of the dining facility.
“I’m glad we could help, it’s what we do as Americans and servicemen,” said Charlie Williams the manager of the local KBR dining facility and a United States Army veteran.
The day continued with the sounds of laughter as Marines and children played chase during their first Independence Day celebration, while spirited games of soccer and “American” football took place across the field.
“They’re so happy, the kids love the Marines,” said Laura Nicolai a volunteer from Constanta, Romania. As the games concluded Marines, sailors, children and volunteers came together to the sounds of music and joined hands in a traditional Romanian dance followed by American pop music prompting children and servicemembers alike to exhibit their dance moves.
“I love this, it makes me miss my kids,” said Corporal Jaret Hubble a personnel administrator, command element, BSRF-12 after dancing with several of the children.
“This is one of the best things I’ve ever done in the Marine Corps,” added Hubble.
The Black Sea Rotational Force is Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force training with 19 countries to facilitate interoperability with U.S. partner nations and promote regional stability while providing a limited crisis response capability in the Black Sea and Caucasus regions.