The U.S. Coast Guard celebrated National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day this week at its headquarters in Washington, D.C. The fun-filled event was attended by over 200 children, aged 5 to 18 years old.
Master Chief Petty Officer Jason Vanderhaden welcomed attendees with a brief speech. Immediately following his remarks, attendees were treated to a performance by the Silent Drill Team. They wowed the crowd with their crisp uniforms, precise synchrony and quiet discipline.
Partway through the performance, event attendee Addison Long, 11, was brought to center stage. Standing ramrod straight, Addison watched as the team expertly executed their routines around her, ending the show by simultaneously pointing the tips of their bayonets at her head.
Although she looked calm, Addison admitted later that she was scared.
Following the performance, children rushed to members of the Drill Team, eager to ask questions and pose for pictures. Meanwhile, a Coast Guard helicopter flew overhead with a uniformed guardsman that vigorously waved at the crowd below.
The children and their parents glimpsed the inner workings of the Coast Guard while also getting a tour of the grounds. In the gym, children did yoga, practicing mindful breathing and moving through a series of poses. They explored aviation equipment and met several Coast Guard aviators, even having the opportunity to sit in a rescue basket.
Children were able to examine dive equipment and try on flippers, waddling around the basketball court like disproportionate penguins. At one station in the gym, children could examine several types of drones and learn about their various functions. Nearby, a uniformed guardsman and his dog, Axis, stood at the ready, drug-sniffing skills and wagging tail intact.
Attendees also completed a crash course in CPR, working in teams to try and save dummies in distress. Each child left with their own CPR kit, as well as the confidence in their ability to help other people and maybe even an interest in working to save lives.
Clio Long, 9, and her brother Henry Long, 11, said they were both impressed by the CPR workshop. Walking out of the gym, Clio wore her new black, safety gloves, snapping them over her wrists.
Next to meeting Axis, the 4-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer drug dog, she said learning CPR was the highlight of her day.
Henry liked the drones, declaring, “They find people who need to be helped.”
Clio and Henry were attending today’s events for the first time with their dad, Chief Warrant Officer Brad Long, who has served in the Coast Guard for 19 years.
At the event, attendees even had the unique opportunity to visit the National Command Center, a special room full of computers, large screens and telephones. Inside, Lt. Cmdr. Matt Anderson emphasized the importance of the work done in that room, comparing the Coast Guard to a large team with lots of different jobs, and likening the Commandant to the team’s coach.
Anderson explained that the Command Center serves as the coach’s eyes and ears.
“We have a little bit to do with everything going on at any given time,” he said. “The job of the Command Center is to keep the leaders informed about what’s happening.”
After getting briefed about the role and responsibilities of the Command Center, the children went into adjacent conference rooms and made use of teleconferencing technology.
The visit wrapped up with a chance to climb aboard a small boat.
Upon disembarking with a big smile on his face, Henry said, “The Coast Guard is really cool and definitely something a lot of people should join.”
His dad appeared to be pleased.
“I think they enjoyed the experience,” Brad Long said. “It was a fun day!”
Today’s events were organized by Chief Petty Officer Megan Long, who attributed the success to the participation of many volunteers.
“This wouldn’t have been possible without them,” she said.Read comments