ABOARD USS BOXER -- Far from the sunny beaches of Southern California where the sun shines hot, the smell of sun tan oil drifts in the air and surfers reign, Marines and Sailors with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), embarked aboard the USS Boxer (LHD-4) were treated to a day of fun on their beach. Only this beach was made of solid steel, covered in non-skid and surrounded by ocean on all sides.
The event, referred to as ‘Steel Beach’, was a chance for everyone to have some fun while underway through the Western Pacific. The flight deck of the Boxer is usually a buzz of high intesity air operations, however during Steel Beach the deck opens up for food, fun, games and especially relaxation.
Having been underway since Sep 13 and keeping up a busy training schedule with such events like live firing and martial arts classes, it was time to break for some fun.
A menu of roast pig and huli huli chicken were served as the general theme was a Hawaiian luau.
One Marine at Steel Beach was Sgt Frederick Pollick, S-4, 15th MEU (SOC). Pollick was glad to get outside of the skin of the ship and have some fun away from the daily grind.
Though he spent the day just hanging around the flight deck, he thought Steel Beach was a great way to break up the monotony of ship life.
“It’s definitely a necessity to do something like this. People get caught up in the daily grind so [it’s easy to forget about your] Marines and Sailors morale. Being able to come up here with the people you work hard with everyday [is good]. It’s definitely something you need to do every so often,” said Pollick.
For Lance Cpl Dustin Odom, ammunition technician with Weapons Co., Battalion Landing Team 2/4, it was a relaxing day out of uniform.
“I haven’t really done a whole lot of anything. I’ve just been relaxing” said Odom.
Breaking the monotony of PT, and classes, Odom enjoyed the day relaxing and sitting around the flight deck. Odom explained that it is important to have events like Steel Beach so that Marines have a way to relieve some tension and have some good food.
“It’s good to be able to relax and not do anything. Even if we have down time, it’s often interrupted. It’s good to have a day off,” said Odom. “It’s important to have one of these as regular as possible, so can people wind down.”
For Lt Col Steven Ross, Executive Officer, 15th MEU (SOC), it is important to have an event like Steel Beach for the Marines and Sailors because it gives them a chance to let their hair down and have a little fun while underway.
“I think it lets the Marines and Sailors aboard the Boxer have a chance to relax a little, have a little camaraderie, play some games, have good chow and generally have a good time and relax,” said Ross.
The 15th MEU (SOC) is currently underway aboard the USS Boxer, Comstock (LSD-25) and Dubuque (LPD-8) as part of the Boxer Strike Group on a tour of the Western Pacific.