CLEVELAND - Hundreds of visitors turned out at the U.S. Marine Corps Science and Technology Expo at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Monday. Many whom attended the Marine Week event wanted to get a glimpse of the state-of-the-art weaponry, ammunition and the latest robotic equipment. Others were looking for a more hands-on experience at the simulated firing range exhibit and combat operation center.
Robby Coulter, 17, came all the way from Peoria, Ariz. for the festivities. He plans on following in his older brother's footsteps.
"I'm going to boot camp to join the Marines next summer," said Coulter. He was one of many who tried on gas masks, body armor and backpacks that weighed between 50 and 120 pounds.
"This gives your average citizen a taste of the stuff the Marine Corps brings to the table, as far as combat, things we use and the gear we wear," said Sgt. Elwood, a Marine who grew up in Geneva.
For some Marines, the events and exhibits offer a chance to show their families what their lives are like in combat.
Doc. Moe Mark Moriarty, of Parma, brought his wife and two young sons to climb in a tank, like the one he was riding in when he earned his Purple Heart, after being hit by a road side bomb in Iraq in 2005.
"It's exciting for them to see all the American might and its glory," said Moriarty. "We're a military family and it's important to support the Marines and Marine Week."
Moriarty has served 22 years in the Marines and he has a few more to go. His father-in-law, Sgt. Maj. John Polifko, who also attended the Marine Week events, retired from the Marines after 31 years of service.
Regardless of who you are or why you're attending Marine Week, one common thread remains.
"We're all just out here to support the Marines," said Coulter.
The USMC Science and Technology Expo is free and open to the public Monday 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
For the complete Cleveland Marine Week 2012 schedule, follow this link: http://on.wews.com/LMzWBD