MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
It’s common for Marines and their families to deal with back-to-back deployments and tough training schedules. The Corps realizes this and makes sure they get the occasional breather. Marines with 1st battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, gathered for a day of fun in the sun at Onslow Beach aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. Aug. 5, 2011.
Barbeque smoke filled the air while the latest hip-hop songs blasted through loud speakers. The sweltering heat of the summer sun glazed the crowd. Smiling children lined up to splash in the cooling waters of a waterslide. If it got too hot for the adults, the beach was nearby.
“It’s terrific!” said Katy Weeks, family readiness officer, 1/10. “It lets everybody relax. This is a great turnout. We got at least twice as many people as we did last year.”
Recently back from Afghanistan, 1/10 hadn’t skipped a beat. Straight from a combat zone, they had gone right back to training; it was time to take a break.
“These guys just got back from Afghanistan,” said Weeks. “Two batteries were in the field and just got back. This is the first time everybody has gotten to just kick back and relax.”
Lt. Col. Robert Hallett, commanding officer, 1/10, who came on deck in the beginning of July and was enthusiastic about the event. He made it a point to let people know how deployments can build new friendships and strengthen families with the right resources. Taking a break from day to day operations was a key factor to combat readiness, he said.
“It’s a nice opportunity to communicate, talk, share ideas, just relax and spend time together,” said Hallett. “The Marine Corps is so busy here lately, it’s actually just kind of nice to kick back, relax and forget about the daily grind every once in a while.”
The new commander wasn’t shy about his battalion. Even though they weren’t under his command at the time, the recent deployment left the entire unit with a sense of pride and ownership of 1/10, he said.
“Look at all of the families that are here and the kids having the opportunity to create that fellowship and camaraderie,” said Hallett. “The guys spend a lot of time together during combat and forge that relationship. So getting the families together and getting involved is very important.”
“When you see a kind of gathering like this, that’s where it comes from, it’s a fellowship shared through hard times but also good times," he said.