DETROIT -- U.S. Marines with the Marine Corps Recruiting Command departed Detroit wrapping up a series of outreach events as a part of their City Partnership Sep. 10, 2017.
MCRC City Partnerships seek to align the Marine Corps with cities that share the essence of Marines - an irreducible fighting spirit. This year the initiative ran in conjunction with Marine Week Detroit.
U.S. Marines engaged members of the community through events such as high school visits supported by the Silent Drill Platoon, a community leaders’ reception, a photography competition showcasing Detroit's fighting spirit, youth basketball and wrestling clinics, a three on three basketball tournament, a cooking competition featuring an expeditionary field kitchen, and more.
The week began with a Community Leaders' Reception, which provided the commanding general of the Marine Corps Recruiting Command, the commander of Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Marine Week Detroit, and the commanding officer of Marine Recruiting Station Detroit and opportunity to engage with leaders from civic, educational, charitable and governing organizations and explain what the Marines are doing in Detroit.
Marines visited dozens of high schools throughout the week to greet students as they returned from summer break to their first days of school.
MCRC hosted a competition which invited local photographers to submit photos they felt captured the fighting spirit of Detroit. Felicia Tolbert, a professional photographer in the city, won the competition with a stunning image of a woman who has overcome serious adversity and seen her way to the other side.
The MCRC Youth Wrestling Clinic, in partnership with USA Wrestling, showcased the All-Marine Wrestling Team alongside Olympic and world champion wrestlers mentoring student athletes before an intense Marine Corps Martial Arts Program demonstration.
The Women's Basketball Coaches Association partnered with MCRC to produce a youth basketball clinic, as well as a Three on Three Girls' Basketball Tournament which featured a special performance by the Silent Drill Platoon.
At one unique event, Marine cooks used equipment from an Expeditionary Field Kitchen to create special entrees competing for best dish.
Finally, MCRC hosted a Marine Week Detroit Drum Line Competition, which saw Cass Tech High School take the trophy, as judged by the crowd, Marine drummers and iconic punk drummer Richie Ramone.
Maj. Gen. Paul Kennedy, commanding general of MCRC, emphasized the value and opportunity that laid before the youth of Detroit at the MCRC Wrestling Clinic.
"What an incredible opportunity to come to Detroit and practice the sport you love," said Kennedy. "You have world-class mentors to show you how to do it. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate this sport than to come to a place that is known for its fighting spirit, toughness and strength. You all ought to cherish this. Learn from these athletes, soak up their knowledge and take it back to the schools where you practice… The United States Marine Corps is with you."
MCRC leveraged its existing partnerships with USA Wrestling, Women's Basketball Coaches Association and local contacts in the city to make the events in Detroit especially impactful, aiding to the overall success of the recruiting and community engagement mission here.
Kennedy said these partnerships help mold the youth into inspirational, aspirational people who hold the future of the country in their hands.
"Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for allowing us be a part of this incredible gathering," said Kennedy. "Over my years as the head of recruiting duty I’ve traveled and met all the kids that give us hope in the future of our country. There were over 400 of them this morning rolling around on the mats and being led by their heroes. It was incredible. If you want to feel inspired, feel good about this country and know that we have a future, look to the wrestling mats like this morning and watch the little rascals rolling around dreaming of defending something later in their lives. It’s truly inspirational."
Though the Marine Corps has finished this iteration of events in Detroit, their departure is by no means a goodbye. The Marine Corps Recruiting Command plans on visiting other influential areas like Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, New Orleans and Oakland, California as a part of its City Partnership program. Local Marine recruiters and reservists will continue strengthening the bond between the Marine Corps and the citizens of Detroit, ensuring continued success for both.