MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Getting released from work early to go enjoy time at the beach with friends and family during a beautiful day was a welcome change for Marines with Headquarters Company, 2nd Marine Regiment. The regiment held its fourth annual Beach Bash, July 2, at Onslow Beach. The focus of the day is for Marines from different shops to have an opportunity to get to know one another, and to offer their families the chance to bond before the upcoming deployment.
The three-hour event had multiple activities for all ages to keep those attending happy and entertained. Among the activities were inflatable bounce houses, a pie-eating contest, dunk tank, rock climbing wall and various intramural sports.
“The Beach Bash we do here with the Regiment is a great opportunity to bring family and friends together with the Marines; it builds unit camaraderie and allows us to show our families how much they mean to us here at 2nd Marine Regiment,” said 1st Sgt. Jason Hammock, Headquarters Company first sergeant. “Our families are our unsung heroes back here at the home front, always taking care of us no matter where we are at in the world.”
In the dunk tank sat the company first sergeant, company commanding officer and company gunnery sergeant. Marines and sailors had multiple chances to dunk their senior leadership and the children took a shot at sinking their parents into the dunk tank’s water below.
“It’s a huge success; everyone’s having fun,” said Hammock. “The dunk tank was fun, it gave the Marines and sailors an opportunity to let their hair down and have some laughs with us.”
When faced with obstacles either as a team or individually, Marines grow closer through overcoming challenges. It can be a pt event, patrolling in Afghanistan, pickup game, or a simple pie eating contest against friends and family. Some chose to play sports during the day, while others tried their mouths at eating.
Eight participants tried their mouths at the pie-eating contest. The rules were simple, unlike the ingredients. They had three minutes to eat as much of the apple, marshmallow pie as possible without using their hands. After it was all done, competitors left with marshmallow covered faces and good memories, and the winners received a new t-shirt sporting the 2nd Marine Regiment’s motto “Keep Moving."
“It was a good time,” said Cpl. Colton Sturm, a data technician from Fort Wayne, Ind. “I did it with my buddy so it was a little more competitive with him next to me. There were eight people who competed. I beat my buddy, but came in second overall. The beach bash is really family friendly and is a good thing to do right before we leave. Everyone’s getting time away from work and getting to hang out with the Marines we only see briefly through work.”
Leaders were able to enjoy themselves along with families, Marines and sailors who also enjoyed the day’s events put together by the family readiness officer and junior leadership. Preparing for a deployment can be stressful for Marines, sailors and their families. Sometimes stepping away from the office is all they need to relax and forget the stress that has been building up. Getting the families involved can help them feel more comfortable knowing who their Marine or sailor is deploying with and that they have the support of other families and outside resources provided by the regiment.
“I was very impressed,” said Capt. Jimmy Lindemann, headquarters company commander from Rosenburg, Texas. “I think it was very successful and I am thankful the weather turned out good. It’s critical that the families feel like they have a support network. It’s [the Beach Bash] something that should be done regularly enough that the support network is maintained among the spouses and support network counselors. For the Marines we refer to it as forced fun, but it simply forces Marines to see one another outside of the once-a-day formation. We have shops operating independently among the Regiment, during the work day, so it’s a good environment for them to get together and learn a little more about what each of them do.”
Overall the day can be marked down as a success. The command was happy with the way things were set up and the Marines and sailors were able to spend a day at the beach rather than the office. Families met one another and were able to see they don’t have to face the upcoming deployment alone. Ultimately, everyone in the regiment, families included, were able to grow closer and build the relationships and support systems that will carry them through their upcoming deployment.