Ho'okele Staff | Jun 30, 2012
Patrol Squadron Four Public Affairs Officer
The Skinny Dragons of Patrol Squadron Four (VP-4) recently finished their school year involvement in the Partnership in Education Program with Aikahi Elementary School in Kailua.
The Partnership in Education program is a community outreach initiative that partners Navy commands with local public schools. Since the beginning of the school year, the Skinny Dragons have volunteered more than 300 hours, supporting a variety of initiatives including tutoring children in the “A Plus Program,” volunteering at school fairs, painting the playground dragon, and landscaping the facilities.
The school hosted two large events, the fun fair and May Day celebration. The school invited the squadron Sailors and their families to the fun fair, and the Skinny Dragons helped set up and provide personnel to man the booths.
The school’s May Day celebration was a culturally rich event with a full royal court representing all seven Hawaiian Islands. Each grade had a special Hawaiian-themed performance and its own king and queen. To help with the event, the Skinny Dragons set up the stage, built and decorated the Hawaiian backdrops, and set up the tents.
When asked about the Partnership in Education Program, Intelligence Specialist 1st Class Lexine Ta’len said, “I am very pleased with the squadron’s participation. It is a good representation of the squadron across the board, and it is great to have the involvement in the community because we are such close neighbors.”
Speaking of the value of working with children, she continued, “It promotes a healthy relationship and, as a parent, you care for a child’s well-being. For those personnel who are not parents, their involvement demonstrates their maturity, and it shows what good role models they are.”
In addition to participating in these events, the squadron helped to improve the school grounds. They improved the playground, installed a new bench, and painted the school’s dragon statue. “Painting the dragon is important to the Skinny Dragons of VP-4 because, in a sense, it serves as a symbol of support of the school by our squadron,” said Airman Recruit McCoy Cardoza.
“It was fun to paint the dragon. It is also great to improve our local community while showing our support and how we give back,” said Airman Seth Sifuentes.
The Skinny Dragons also participated in career day as former skipper, Cmdr. Kevin Long, talked to the children about his job in the squadron and in the Navy. During all of these events, the Skinny Dragons were also active in supporting the “A+ program” after school by tutoring students and assisting teachers.
“Whether it’s the Partnership in Education Program or involvement in a local church, for example, it’s important for all Sailors to participate in some type of community service,” said Ta’len. “Making that valuable contribution to the community not only helps a Sailor grow as an individual, but it also reflects greatly on their character. This helps to cultivate a positive relationship within the community,” Ta’len said.
To demonstrate their gratitude, personnel at the school hosted a volunteer appreciation lunch. “The lunch was amazing. They had a wonderful spread of food, and we were thoroughly impressed. It was greatly appreciated,” said Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class Cametria Tobias.
Patrol Squadron Four is located at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay. The squadron flies the P-3C Orion and is better known as the Skinny Dragons. The P-3C is land-based and is the Navy’s premier long-range maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, operating from locations throughout the world. The P-3C Orion missions range from submarine tracking to search and rescue, as well as overland missions, working alongside Navy, Army and Marine ground units.