MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Many Marines and sailors celebrated this past Memorial Day weekend with barbeques and some well deserved time off. The 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) enjoyed a pre-holiday barbeque in the name of safety at Camp Pendleton’s Del Mar Beach in order to build camaraderie and a sense of family within the unit, May 26.
The day started with a safety brief designed to remind the unit’s Marines and sailors to make wise decisions during their extended weekend. The brief covered topics such as water safety, long distance driving, and many other recreational activities service members are known to enjoy.
Shortly after was the awaited barbeque which featured food and drinks, an inflatable jumping house, beautiful weather, and the famous Southern California beach. In addition to rewarding the unit’s Marines and sailors for their hard work, the unit invited the service member’s family as well.
“Being the new commanding officer, this is an opportune event for me to meet some of the new Marines and their families,” said Col. Scott D. Campbell, commanding officer, 15th MEU. “The families need to know the people in the unit which will help ease anxiety when it comes time to go underway,” said Campbell, who took command of the unit March of this year.
The event was organized by the unit’s Family Readiness Officer, Audrey B. Hooper, whose mission is to ensure families are prepared for the loved ones deployment.
“The cookout gives a chance for all of the spouses to meet and get to know each other,” said Hooper. “They develop their own support system for each other when their spouses leave. It makes the deployment more manageable on the families.”
Events like this one in the past helped spouses cope with the separation from their Marine or sailor.
“It’s great to connect with families before the unit deploys,” said Amy Kovats, wife of a 15th MEU Marine. “It has helped me get to know some of the other spouses who will all be experiencing the same thing.”
The event gave the Marines and sailors a chance to relax and unwind while also giving them the opportunity to get to know those who recently arrived at the 15th MEU.
“The barbeque is a great way to meet families of people you’ll be serving with,” said Sgt. James Barber II, field radio operator, 15th MEU.
“The Marines connect on a more personal level,” said Lance Cpl. Boris Calderon, field radio operator, 15th MEU. “My section is like a big family.”
Colonel Campbell plans on hosting events like this one every quarter to help bring his unit together before their deployment next year.
“The barbeque was really motivating, I had a great time,” said Sgt. Danny C. Ziegler, police sergeant, 15th MEU. “It was great to get this group of Marines together and have a good safe time before this extended weekend.”