MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY --
Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany’s Marine Corps Police Department recently gave its special guest, “Flat Stanley,” a taste of what it is like to be a military police officer.
Staff Sgt. Paul Delekto, services chief, MCPD, received a hand-written letter by a young girl from Mark Twain Elementary School in Rolla, Missouri, requesting his participation as part of a study in geography.
Standing about seven inches tall, the paper-thin cutout boy figure arrived via mail with brown hair and wearing a green shirt, red pants and black shoes.
According to her letter, “Flat Stanley is about a boy who is flat and gets to go on new adventures through the mail.”
“Flat Stanley,” authored by Jeff Brown, is about a character in a series of children’s books that is flattened by a bulletin board, which was hung on the wall over his bed.
Making the most out of his two-dimensional size, he used his ability to experience new adventures while traveling to California in an envelope to visit his relatives.
“The school, in the same aspect, does a representation of Flat Stanley and each kid sends the cutout to different families and learns how much larger the world really is by the information gathered,” Delekto said.
Delekto said Flat Stanley experienced what it was like to be a police officer by working in several sections within the MCPD including police chief, K-9 unit, Pass and Identification Section, Services Section and how it supports operations in providing security for those living, working and visiting the base. Flat Stanley also received a windshield tour of the base by a public affairs specialist where he learned more about MCLB Albany’s mission by observing the day-to-day operations.
Delekto said the elementary school was located near Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, a U.S. Army installation.
“Most of the interaction the children have is with Army personnel,” he said. “A lot of the kids (in that area) know about the Army but they don’t know much about the other branches of services or how we support (the nation).”
Being selected to sponsor Flat Stanley, for the second time, “is like winning the lottery,” he said.
“It’s kind of exciting because I am the lucky lottery winner,” he added. “The goal is to send back as much information about the Marine Corps as possible to this little girl. She is not attached to the military, doesn’t really understand how large the world is or how far (military service members and their families) travel.”
According to Delekto, sponsoring Flat Stanley has allowed him to give non-military children an opportunity to learn about military life experiences.
“Its kind of a pride thing, being a Marine and her not knowing what a Marine is, to talk about what we do and (share my) adventures with Flat Stanley,” he said. “This is a great opportunity to let people know about the Marine Corps and how we interact with the local, (and in this case, national communities).”
Delekto said he hopes to see more schools and Marines get involved with the project.