CLEVELAND — Clevelanders got a chance to get up close and personal with the gear, vehicles and equipment currently being used by the Marine Corps at the Marine Corps Systems Command display outside the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland June 12, 2012.
Children enjoyed climbing inside up-armored humvees and other Marine vehicles just like the ones used by Marines in missions worldwide.
Cleveland native Owen Slemc, age 3, said he felt like a Marine when he sat in the humvee.
Marines also showed off gear and uniforms, including the newest combat pack. Amanda Rabatin, who is an avid hiker, tried on the pack to compare it to what she wears on her hikes.
“I ordinarily carry about 40 pounds,” said Rabatin, a Medina native. “The Marine Corps pack was about twice as heavy. It’s a lot heavier and not as compact. I would definitely not want to hike with it.”
One of the more popular items among young and old alike were the Marine robotic systems. The robots, which included the Talon and the XM1216, are remote-controlled robotic systems used by Marines in combat zones since 2001. There are roughly 5,000 currently in combat zones, said Lindy Kirkland, Marine Corps liaison for Robotic Systems Joint Project Office.
“In the past, the bots were used mostly for explosive ordnance disposal Marines,” Kirkland said. “Now, they’re beginning to be used more for recon and patrols.”
EOD Marines use robots like the TALON to get a closer look at possible explosive devices. Using small, unmanned ground vehicles like the XM1216, Marines on patrols are able to send the robots into buildings to get footage in hostile areas. This helps protect Marines from surprise ambushes and explosives.
“If you can send a robot to do something and save a Marine life, then why not do it?” Kirkland said.
Clevelanders were able to take the robots out for a test drive with remotes much like those used for remote-control cars.
Kirkland said the Marine Corps is developing a remote that will enable ground troops to control both ground robots as well as unmanned aircraft above for complete support.
The displays didn’t just show Clevelanders what is new in the Corps, it also connected them with the Marine Corps’ past. The National Museum of the Marine Corps tent featured uniforms and gear from Marine Corps history. Additionally several Marines were wearing historic costumes.
The vehicles, equipment and gear at the Science Center displays gave the residents of Cleveland a complete look at where the Marine Corps has come from and what life is like for Marines in today’s Corps.