Marine Week: Military Science and Technology Expo

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CLEVELAND – Locals are getting a first taste of basic training, with some of the military’s deadliest weapons right at their fingertips.

The popular science and technology expo has been a sure-fire hit, said Master Gunnery Sgt. Larry Freetage.

“They want to see the rockets and missiles because those are the things that do the big boom, so that’s what they’re interested in,” Freetage said. “How does it work? How far will it go?”

On site, expert personnel showcase state-of-the-art ammunition used in the corps – and people can even handle the weapons.

“We have over 30 weapon systems,” said Master Sgt. Tracey Parkinson. “Anywhere from handheld, shoulder, fire and precision weapons, which are what the snipers use. The great thing about this is, is normally every day, we’re working with Marines and teaching them. Now, we get to reach out to the civilian population and teach at a different level.”

There is also a video-game target practice on site, where people can test their shooting abilities.

“I wanted to bring my kids down to the Marine training week because my brother’s a retired marine,” said Nicole Harrington of Avon. “I really enjoyed shooting the weapons over there. That was pretty neat that they taught us how to properly handle it.”

But for some, like Maddie Kennedy, 10, of Avon, it’s an exciting time to get close to weapons – and met the men and women who use them.

“It’s so amazing to see what they’re going through in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Maddie said. “Pretty amazing to have them come here and share their stories and what they’ve been doing for our country. It’s really amazing.”

The expo is located between the Great Lakes Science Center and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday is the last day it’s open.