Constanta, Romania -- A school field trip took place outside Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base throughout the week of May 27-31 with volunteers from the Romanian, Italian, and U.S. Armed forces.
Each armed force brought equipment to show the children, giving them the opportunity to explore inside UH-60 helicopters, a military police vehicle, fire trucks, and an M1070 Heavy Equipment Transport system.
"The importance of this is the community relations," said Staff Sgt. Jeffery Laird, with the 396th Composite Truck Company, 3rd Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade from Fort Stewart, Georgia. "We are out here building bonds and a stable relationship with the community."
From the local community, roughly four thousand students have come to the event hosted by Constanta's international airport.
"I've seen a lot of excitement out here, and I think the children like the Blackhawk helicopter the most," he said. "But once they get up in the truck and see how high they are, put the [Army Combat Helmet] on and get behind the wheel, I think they like that a lot too."
Laird was in charge of the M1070 Heavy Equipment Transport system. He and his team helped children walk over the catwalk and safely dismount the vehicle. Children tried on different gear, such as firemen's jackets and helmet's. They also got to trigger the siren and speak into the megaphone in the MP vehicle.
"We have been introducing them into what we do and our presence here," said Spc. Sinaed Engleman, with Army Reserves unit 313th MP Detachment, and origially from Fairbanks, Alaska. "[We are] out here just interacting with these kids so they are comfortable when they see us."
While the kids got to explore the inside and outside of the various vehicles, they were also fascinated by many of the uniforms and personal equipment used by the service members.
Engleman showed off the tactical vest she wears while on duty, but also got to demonstrate the hand-cuffs she carries.
"There were so many kids that wanted me to handcuff them that I started handcuffing them together," she said. "They were having fun with it!"
The volunteers could tell the children were excited to be there and probably had never done anything like this before. Most of the kids at the event were elementary to middle school ages.
The event was not only fun for the children but also for the Soldiers attending. Many of the Soldiers were reminded of their own children during their time volunteering.
"Reminds me of home a little bit, which is why I enjoy it," Laird said.
The interoperability between allied nations was extended to more than just the militaries this week, and the community showed their support by coming to see the multinational forces at the airfield.
"We're here as a peaceful mission to interact with the children, Laird said. "I know they like getting in the equipment, meeting us, and taking their little selfies, and I believe the children are really enjoying this. And I am having a good time out here doing this myself."