Story and Photo by
Sgt. Gaelen Lowers
8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs
AIEA — Before starting summer vacation, students of Webling Elementary School and the Soldiers of the 8th Special Troop Battalion, 8th Theater Sustainment Command came together for one last “hoorah,” here, recently.
The annual field day was held the second from the last day of school and had a two-fold purpose.
“It gives our teachers time to clean up and work in their classrooms, and it gives one last chance for the students to bond and have fun with the sponsor parents and our military partners,” said Sherrylyn Yamada, principal, Webling Elementary School.
Soldiers arrived in the early morning to set up the events and have everything ready for the students when they got there. The events included a tug-of-war, water balloon toss, and a three-legged race.
“Everyone had such a good time today,” said Sgt. Phillis White, retention noncommissioned officer, 8th STB. “We’ve been coming out all year volunteering and really wanted to put together something special before they went on their summer break.”
The school’s relationship with the military has been a long and fun-filled period.
“Members of the armed forces have been stationed on this island since 1907, so we have been in this community for many years,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Goodman, commander, 8th STB.
“It’s a very symbiotic relationship,” Goodman said. “It shows the community that we care and are active members, and also gives the Soldiers an opportunity to interact with the students. The community, in turn, shows and gives the military their support when it needs it most.”
Yamada said that the students get excited when they Soldiers at the school.
“It’s a natural thing to see our military partners walking around our campus, participating with the students and helping out around the classrooms,” Yamada said. “The Soldiers are always asking how they can help out.”
There is never a shortage of Soldiers, said White, who also acts as the joint liaison for Webling Elementary School.
“We always have more volunteers than we need,” White said. “They come from every staff section in the battalion and nobody ever has a bad time. Many are making plans for next year already.”
Yamada and Goodman are also making plans to continue their partnership the following year and into the future.
“I had a discussion with Mrs. Yamada over a plate of good cafeteria spaghetti and reconfirmed our commitment to the school,” Goodman said. “So we will be here next year in full force ready to volunteer and help out where ever we can.”