Saturday, June 21, 2008

How Do You Explain a CAP to an 8-year old?

That was my dilema today at the museum. Explaining a Combined Action Platoon (CAP) to an 8-year old.

Why was I doing this. Well, he asked.

It started out with me over hearing him say to his dad, "Wow! look at that." While looking up at the UH1E (Huey) outside the Vietnam gallery. I told them the story behind the helicopter (flown by Steven Pless, he and his air crew, highest decorated air crew in Marine Corps aviation history). To that the little boy says, "That was one cool story!" Then he pointed to the CAP team display and asked me if this had anything to do with the Huey story.

So - - the explanation of what a Combined Action Platoon is. My attempt:

This is a Combined Action Platoon. You have a US Marine that had trained local Vietnameese on how to defend their village, kind of like a National Guard (no slight to any USNG folks out there, I know you do more than defend your local towns). Then I said, "During this big attack by the bad guys called the Tet Offensive, the villages that had CAPs teams were not taken over by the bad guys."

His parents were amused at listening to me try to explain this too their son. I think he got half of what I was talking about.

One of the other docents said they would have explained it as a Sheriff in the wild west with his posse and how they protected the towns from robbers.

Any other suggestions out there?

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