‘Operation Purple’ camps aid keiki

| June 29, 2012 | 0 Comments
Pvt. Zachary Trulson, Maintenance Platoon, Forward Support Company, 65th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde., 8th TSC, demonstrates how to use a radio to campers at Operation Purple, recently.

Pvt. Zachary Trulson, Maintenance Platoon, Forward Support Company, 65th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde., 8th TSC, demonstrates how to use a radio to campers at Operation Purple, recently.

Story and Photo by
2nd Lt. Lauren Looper
65th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command

MOKULEIA — Soldiers with the 65th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, assisted with Operation Purple at YMCA Hawaii’s Camp Erdman, here, recently.

Soldiers with the 65th Eng. Bn., and other units from Schofield Barracks, plus service members from the Navy, Coast Guard and Marines, provided a variety of interactive displays for camp members.

In an effort to alleviate the stress and challenges that keiki of deployed Soldiers endure, the National Military Family Association runs Operation Purple summer camps. Six of the battalion’s seven companies participated. (The seventh, 95th Eng. Co., is currently deployed to Afghanistan.)

Military keiki participated in crafts, outdoor activities and events that helped them cope with their parents being deployed.

“It’s a chance to bring the kids together and interact with kids who are facing similar things in their lives,” said Andrew VanDerWege, senior program director, Hawaii YMCA. “They build friends, grow and work through some of the things they’re facing.”

Displays spanned across YMCA’s Camp Erdman located along Oahu’s North Shore.

The 7th Dive Detachment, 65th Eng. Bn., set up next to the pool and showed children a video about Army divers. The detachment also used plastic bottles to demonstrate how a hyperbaric stretcher works to provide oxygen therapy for diving accidents.

Near the 7th Dive Detachment, the 70th Eng. Company (Geospatial), 65th Eng. Bn., demonstrated mapmaking and geospatial computer programs. Each child left with a map of the North Shore.

Across the road, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 65th Eng. Bn., ran a paintball station, one of the most popular lanes of the day. Soldiers coached children and served as safeties while shooting at targets from behind barriers.

The 34th Eng. Co. (Sapper), 65th Eng. Bn., let keiki use a Buffalo mine-protected clearance vehicle to investigate a simulated improvised explosive device, or IED.

The 82nd ESC, 65th Eng. Bn., demonstrated backhoe loading by picking up and crushing wooden pallets.

The FSC, 65th Eng. Bn., used radios to teach children radio communication and sending reports.

“Operation Purple is a great way to let the kids know that they are part of the Army family even while their parents are deployed,” said 2nd Lt. Michael Bowers, safety officer, HHC, 65th Eng. Bn.

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