Beyond the book – Reading as a bonding experience

04 Jan
military child resilience

Beyond the book – Reading as a bonding experience. 

Reading with children is so much more than just saying the words on the page. Asking questions about what the child sees and pointing out details on the page help a simple story to become a real bonding experience.  American Hero Books®: My Daddy is a Marine and American Hero Books®: My Mommy is a Marine  feature many details that allow the Marine parent to engage the child beyond the book.

When you are reading to your child take the time to point out some of these features and talk about them in context to your personal experience. For example show your child your uniforms, or point out your medals and discuss what you did to earn them. Talk about life in the field, or on ship, or in garrison. You can even take a field trip on base and count how many EGAs you spot. And it’s always a riot to see who can “bark” the loudest! Make reading this book an experience that your child will remember regardless of how many miles or months may separate you. And if you do have to be apart remember to send home pictures to be added into the book, so that the story is always current and that your child sees that you are always in his/her life.

  • Camouflage Pattern: Known as Marpat (MARine PATtern), this was the first digital camouflage pattern to be adopted by any US Service Branch. The digital pattern is supposed to copy the dappled textures and rough edges found in nature. The pixilation is also supposed to be more difficult for the eye to focus on and also effective at fooling those using infrared devices at night. Currently Marines wear the woodland (green based) Marpat during the winter months and desert (tan and brown based) Marpat during the summer months while in garrison. While deployed for training or combat the unit’s command will determine the appropriate uniform pattern to wear based on geographic location of the mission.

Woodland MarpatTan & Brown Marpat

  • Service Colors: Scarlet and Gold. These colors were officially adopted by Marine Corps order in 1925. Major General John A. Lejeune chose those colors because they were the most frequently used colors throughout Marine Corps uniform history.

Historic Note: The Red stripe on the dress blue trousers is not associated with the Scarlet service color. The red stripe is called a Blood Stripe and refers to the blood shed during the 1847 assault at Chapultepec during the Mexican-American War.
Author’s Note: In the American Hero Books® an olive drab color is also used for a page color. This color is similar to the color of the shirts that are authorized for wear under the camouflage uniform blouse.

  • Emblem: The Eagle, Globe, and Anchor. The eagle represents the United States of America. It stands at the ready with coastlines in sight and the entire world within reach of its outstretched wings. The Globe represents the Marine Corps worldwide presence. The Anchor points to both the Marine Corps’ naval heritage and its ability to access any coastline in the world. Together the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor symbolize the Marine’s commitment to defend the United States –in the air, on land, and at sea.

USMC Emblem

  • Flag: Marines have carried several different flags since the American Revolution, but today’s standard has been flown since January 1939. The Eagle, Globe, and anchor emblam is rendered in grey and gold over the scarlet background. The ribbon flowing from the eagle’s beak bears the motto “Semper Fidelis,” and the words “United States Marine Corps” are found on the scroll below.


  • MottoSemper Fidelis, Latin for Always Faithful, was adopted in 1883 as the official motto of the Marine Corps. It guides Marines to remain faithful to the mission at hand, to each other, to the Corps, and to country no matter what.
  • Mascot: “Chesty,” an English Bulldog is the mascot of the Marine Corps. In 1918, during the Battle of Belleau Wood, Marines fought against the Germans with such ferocity the Germans called Marines “Teufel Hunden” or devil dogs. Originally said to be an insult, Marines took it as a compliment. Soon after a recruiting poster featuring a snarling English Bulldog wearing a Marine helmet was released and the image became a favorite with the Marines and public. Since 1922 when Brig. General Smedley Butler signed enlistment papers for the first official Bulldog mascot named Pvt Jiggs, there have been many bulldogs to serve as mascots for the Marine Corps and individual units. During the 1930’s-50’s the official name for the mascots was “Smedley” named for BrigGen Butler, and in the late 1950’s the name was changed to “Chesty” as an honor to the legendary Lt General Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller, Jr.

Teufel Hunden

  • Motivational Call  – also known as Barking: OOH-RAH is a motivational call, or bark, that dates back to the 1950’s in Korea but didn’t become popular in it’s current form until the 1970’s and later. Marines and historians have determined the true origins of “Ooh-rah” lie with recon Marines stationed in Korea in 1953. During this time, reconnaissance Marines in the 1st Amphibious Reconnaissance Co., found themselves traveling via submarine to where they were needed. The memorable call of “dive, dive!” would be called on the intercom and a klaxon alarm, which made a very distinct “Aarugha” sound, would announce the descent of the sub below water. The recon Marines, who heard this sound often, started using it as a motivational tool during runs and physical training. Over time, the word “Aarugha” came to be too much of a mouthful, and eventually molded itself into the familiar “Ooh-rah.”
  • Service Ribbons and Awards: These awards and decorations recognize the service and personal accomplishments of members of the United States Armed Forces. Together with military badges, such awards are a means to outwardly display the highlights of a Service Member’s career.The awards and ribbons included in American Hero Books® are just a small sample of those that Service Members can be awarded or presented with. Each ribbon used in the books corresponds to the action being depicted by the text or image on the specific book page.
    • National Defense Ribbon  – Awarded for honorable active military service as a member of the armed forces of the United States USMC National Defense Ribbonincluding the Coast Guard, between June 27, 1950 and July 27, 1954, (Korean War), between Jan. 1, 1961 and Aug. 14, 1974, (Vietnam War), between Aug. 2, 1990 to Nov. 30, 1995 (operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm), and currently from Sept. 11, 2001 to a date to be determined (terrorism attacks on the United States). Service members who earned the medal during the first qualifying period, and who again became entitled to the medal, wear a bronze star on the ribbon to denote the second award of the medal.
    • Meritorious Service Medal – Awarded to members of the Armed Forces of the United States or members of the armed forces of a USMC Meritorious Service Medalfriendly foreign nation who distinguished themselves by outstanding meritorious achievement or service to the United States. To justify this decoration, the acts or services rendered by an individual, regardless of grade or rate, must have been comparable to that required for the Legion of Merit but in a duty of lesser responsibility. The Meritorious Service Medal is the counterpart of the Bronze Star Medal for the recognition of meritorious non-combat service. When the degree of meritorious achievement or service rendered is not sufficient to warrant the award of the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, when appropriate, should be considered.
    • Bronze Star – Awarded to individuals who, while serving in any capacity with the Armed Forces of the United States in a combat USMC Bronze Startheater, distinguish themselves by heroism, outstanding achievement, or by meritorious service not involving aerial flight.
    • Navy Unit Commendation – Awarded by the Secretary of the Navy to any ship, aircraft, detachment, or other unit of the naval USMC Navy Unit Commendationservice of the United States Navy which has, subsequent to 6 December 1941, distinguished itself by outstanding heroism in action against the enemy, but not sufficient to justify award of the Presidential Unit Citation.
    • Meritorious Unit Commendation – Awarded by the Secretary of the Navy to any unit of the Navy or Marine Corps which has USMC Meritorious Unit Commendationdistinguished itself under combat or noncombat conditions, by either valorous or meritorious achievement compared to other units performing similar service, but not sufficient to justify the award of the Navy Unit Commendation.
    • Marine Corps Drill Instructor Ribbon – Presented to recognize those who have been trained and qualified as Marine Corps Drill USMC Marine Corps Drill Instructor RibbonInstructors. A service member must serve for 3 qualifying years in their position to receive the ribbon. Created in 1997 the award is retroactive to October 6th, 1952. Additional awards are represented with Bronze Service Star devices.
    • Marine Corps Recruiting Ribbon – Presented to Marine Corps personnel (Officers and Enlisted) after they have completed a USMC Marine Corps Recruiting Ribbonstandard 36 month tour with the U.S. Marine Corps Command. Additional awards of the ribbon and represented by wearing a Bronze Star device on the service ribbon.
    • Combat Action Ribbon – Awarded to Navy and Marine Corps personnel who render satisfactory performance under enemy fire USMC Combat Action Ribbonwhile actively participating in a ground or surface engagement. Created in February of 1969, it was originally retroactive to March 1st, 1961 to personnel who met the requirements. However President Bill Clinton changed this requirement to December 7th, 1941 to include all personnel who participated in World War II. Additional awards of the Combat Action Ribbon are represented by wearing a Gold or Silver 5/16th inch stars on the service ribbon.
    • Sea Service Deployment Ribbon– Presented to any member of the United States Navy after they complete a deployment at sea. A USMC Sea Service Deployment Ribbonstandard deployment is considered 90 consecutive days or two periods of at least 80 days within a 12 month period. Additional awards of the ribbon are represented by wearing a Bronze Star device on the service ribbon.
    • Overseas Deployment Ribbon– Presented to United States Navy and Marine Corps personnel who complete a standard 1 year USMC overseas deployment ribbon(cumulative) overseas tour of duty. First created in 1987, additional awards are represented by wearing a Bronze Star device on the service ribbon.
    • Navy and Marine Corps Medal – The Navy and Marine Corps Medal is the second highest non-combatant medal awarded by the USMC Navy and Marine Corps MedalUnited States Department of the Navy to members of the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps. The decoration was established by an act of Congress on August 7, 1942. The Navy and Marine Corps Medal may be awarded to service members who, while serving in any capacity with the Navy or Marine Corps, distinguish themselves by heroism not involving actual conflict with an enemy. For acts of lifesaving, or attempted lifesaving, it is required that the action be performed at the risk of one’s own.
    • Legion of Merit – A decoration presented by the United States Armed Forces to members of the United States Military, as well as USMC Legion of Meritforeign military members and political figures, who have displayed exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements. The performance must be of significant importance and far exceed what is expected by normal standards. When the award is presented to foreign parties, it is divided into separate ranking degrees. The degrees are as follows: Chief Commander – issued to a head of state or government; Commander – issued to a chief of staff or higher position that is not head of state; Officer – issued to a general or flag officer that is below the chief of staff, colonel or equivalent rank; Legionnaire – issued to all other service members ranking lower than those previously mentioned. Awards presented to United State military members are not divided into degrees. Subsequent awards are denoted by Oak Leaf Clusters for U.S. Army and Air Force members and Award Stars for U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard members. The Valor device is also authorized to be worn by the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, but not by the U.S. Army or Air Force.
  • Marines Hymn: The “Marines’ Hymn” is the official hymn of the United States Marine Corps. It is the oldest official song in the United States military. The “Marines’ Hymn” is typically sung at the position of attention as a gesture of respect. However, the third verse is also used as a toast during formal events, such as the birthday ball and other ceremonies.While the lyrics are said to date from the 19th century, no pre-20th century text is known. The author of the lyrics is likewise unknown. Legend has it that it was penned by a Marine on duty in Mexico. The music is from the Gendarmes’ Duet from an 1867 revision of the 1859 opera Geneviève de Brabant by Jacques Offenbach, which debuted in Paris in 1859. But later correspondence between Colonel Albert S. McLemore and Walter F. Smith (the second leader of the Marine Band) revealed that the origins of the tune might be in a Spanish Folk Song. Follow this link to hear the hymn:



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