CHICAGO -- The Marine Corps gave Chicagoans the chance to look at, hold and even play with some of its newest equipment today at Navy Pier.
Static displays were set-up inside and outside the pier, showcasing some of the Corps’ newest technology. The displays are a part of a week long event titled “Marine Week Chicago.” Events began Monday and are scheduled to run through Sunday.
“We are reaching out to the people of Chicago to show them what the Marine Corps brings to the table and where we fit in,” said Col. Shawn Reinwald, director of Infantry Weapons Systems. “The technology has increased and very few people know about it.”
The public enjoyed full access to all of the displays.
“I thought it was great,” said Lisa Majeske, native of Wood Dale, Ill. “It allowed the kids to get up close and personnel with all of the equipment.”
From display to display, from kids to adults, guests were able to actually get behind weapons and see what it’s like.
“These children are living their dream right now, their dreams are coming true from looking at guns to seeing Marines in uniform,” said Lisa Romanski, native of Wood Dale, Ill “That’s the best part, it’s all hands on.”
The displays are located at Lakeview Terrace inside Festival Hall.
“I’m going to get other guys to come down here, they need to see this,” said Terry Owens, native of West Chicago.
The displays outside were highlighted by the new Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle (MRAP), and the Marines fitness challenge, where contestants competed for prizes by doing as many pull-ups as they could.
“We want to expose as many people as we can to the Marine Corps, after all, this is the peoples’ Marine Corps,” said Reinwald. “Anything the people can put their hands on helps. People want to know what makes the Corps tick.”
Chicago just doesn’t have a lot of Marines in the area It’s a good chance for the people of Chicago to come out and get close to Marines, said Sgt. Kenith Schaffer, an artillery school instructor stationed at Fort Sill, Okla.
“We want the people to know that the Marines are the same people they went to high school with. We want to remove the mystery surrounding Marines,” said Reinwald.
The displays are free of charge and will be open to the public through Sunday evening.
“There are a lot of great displays,” said Majeske.
The Marines want to leave the visitors with an overall good feeling about the Marine Corps. Chicago was an excellent choice to kick off Marine Week, not sure it could go any better, said Reinwald.
At least one other visitor agreed.
“Marines are the best,” said Romanski.
For more information on Marine Week visit www.marines.mil/marineweek.