MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. -- Members of the Marine Corps Battle Color Detachment joined forces with local Yuma recruiters Feb. 13 to give Cibola High School students a change of pace during their physical education class.
The Marines donned their green-on-green physical training gear to coach every PE period throughout the school day, giving students a sample of the Marine Corps physical fitness program and stressing the importance of maintaining health by staying in shape. The MCBCD consists of the Marine Corps Color Guard, the Drum and Bugle Corps and the Silent Drill Platoon.
"I noticed (the students) started off intimidated by us at first," said Lance Cpl. Joseph Garcia, an administrative clerk assigned as permanent personnel with the BCD. "By doing something like this, it gives them a chance to see we're human beings and not just the combat machines they see on TV."
Due to rain, a rare event in Yuma, the Marines held the classes in the high school's gym. Students seemed unsure of what was in store for them as they filed in at the beginning of each period, although the Marines soon put them at ease by introducing themselves, explaining what they would be doing and telling a little bit about what they do in the Marine Corps.
"This is the first time I've actually gone out and done something like this," Garcia said. "It's awesome getting the chance to show civilians what we're all about."
Activities consisted of a circuit course with seven stations, he said. Marines who explained, demonstrated and oversaw exercises such as mountain climbers, crunches, side-straddle hops, flutter kicks, push-ups and squats manned each station.
"This is fun, and it gives you a good workout," said Nolan Ford, a 16-year-old sophomore. "I think we should do this once a week for our PE class."
The students do some of the exercises during PE, he said, but exercises such as mountain climbers and push-ups are not done very often.
"I've done them before," Ford said. "But not for PE like this."
Most of the students enjoyed the change of pace and having the Marines run their class, he added.
"I think it's good the Marines are out here to do this," Ford said. "It's fun for us, and it may be able to help some people with a decision to join the Marines."
Ryan Rautenberg, a 15-year-old freshman, said he felt it was a good workout for teenagers.
"It's a definite change from the norm, and it's a fun workout," he said. "I think it's nice of them to come out here and do this. It shows other things they do besides combat."
For one student, the workout wasn't quite what he was used to.
Bryan Wong, a 16-year-old sophomore with a brown belt in Karate, said he had not expected to be doing basic exercises. The workout for his level of expertise in martial arts is more complex, although he added that going back to the basics is always a good thing to do.
"It was actually kind of fun," Wong said. "I've always been a fan of working out and self improvement, so watching the Marines lead the workout gives me a sense of security about their training. It makes me have more confidence in our country's security."
For the Marines, it was just a fun experience, Garcia said.
"I think some of the kids enjoyed it and others may have found it a challenge," he said. "I know I would have enjoyed it if the Marine Corps had come to do this at my high school."
The Marine Corps Battle Color Detachment will be training here until the end of February and plans to put on a 3 p.m. show at the air station and a 7 p.m. show at Kofa High School Feb. 25, with an additional performance by the Drum and Bugle Corps during the air show.