MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
More than 350 Marines and their families attended a family day sponsored by the Joe Gibbs Racing Team at Onslow Beach Sept. 8.
The Joe Gibbs Racing Team “adopted” 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, to help support the Marines and their families. The racing team plans to have an ongoing relationship with the battalion and intends to sponsor future events.
“The idea was to show our appreciation to the troops and to their families,” said Sandy Norrid, a volunteer with the racing team.
The family day was the first official battalion event sponsored by the racing team.
“This is the first thing we’ve done, but we’re looking for other opportunities to do things,” Norrid said. “We would like to send some things to the troops, and we’re asking for (Marines’) input in that. We need to know what exactly to send -- such as movies, videos, calling cards, sunglasses.”
The family day allowed the Marines to spend time with each other in a social environment outside of work and in civilian attire.
“This is where you really like to see Marines,” said Lt. Col. Thad R. Trapp, the battalion commanding officer. “It’s good to see them out here without their uniform, ‘letting their hair down’ and enjoying themselves with their families.”
The event also allowed the families to meet each other and the unit leaders, said Sgt. Maj. Jose L. Santiago, the battalion sergeant major.
The battalion is scheduled to deploy next summer and plans to hold social events often to help build bonds among the families and leadership.
“It really does emphasize the fact that not only are we a family as a unit, but events like this are necessary to care for the families and build those relationships,” Trapp said.
The battalion was deactivated in 1991 and reactivated July 13 due to an increase in size of the Marine Corps.
“To be able to stand this battalion back up as the newest battalion in the Marine Corps and grow it basically from scratch to deploying sometime next year definitely makes 2/9 unique, and I’m excited,” Trapp said.
The racing team, composed mostly of volunteers, was recognized for its hard work and support for the troops.
“It is especially nice to see the civilians from Joe Gibbs Racing come out here and support us,” said Maria Runyon, the wife of Maj. James B. Runyon. “It’s always nice to hear a ‘Thank you’ and to know that other people are out there helping.”
The volunteers for the racing team wanted everyone to know the team came out for only one reason.
“Some people are wondering, ‘Why are we out here?’” said Rick Gurr, a volunteer for the racing team. “We just wanted to show our appreciation and see if there’s anything we can do to help. There are no agendas, we’re just here to say thanks.”