USS Oak Hill -- While in route to Boston for the city’s annual Fourth of July Harborfest, Marines from 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing and 2nd Marine Logistics Group and sailors aboard the USS Oak Hill participated in a steel beach barbeque, June 29.
The steel beach is a Navy tradition normally held on Sundays, in which the sailors and Marines spend a day barbequing, playing sports and building friendships between the two services.
Navy Commander Bryan Carmichael, the USS Oak Hill commanding officer, said for this particular steel beach the officers took charge of the cooking as a way to serve junior troops and to give culinary specialists aboard the ship a break.
“We use it as an opportunity for the crew to have some fun and intermingle,” said Carmichael. “It’s also about team building and relaxing at the same time and it helps build that camaraderie; that’s why we like to have the steel beach, especially so early on in our trip.”
Sergeant Joe Campbell, a calibration technician with 2nd Maintenance Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 25, said all of the events really help to bring both services together.
“What it comes down to is that we’re all military and we all bond from the same things,” said Campbell. “I come from a culinary background so I definitely think that food brings everyone together.”
Carmichael said the partnership that both services built during the steel beach was a vital part of maintaining a solid relationship, encouraging effective mission accomplishment.
“The best part, I think, is watching the team grow and getting them together when they don’t really know each other. By the end of these events everyone is working together as a team as if they’d known each other for years,” said Carmichael.
Campbell agreed that the best part of the steel beach was bonding with the sailors, watching them let loose after working hard on the ship and sharing stories with them about their various experiences.
Carmichael said the barbeque was a great way to bring Marines and sailors together, since they will be working alongside each other during the festival.
He mentioned this is one way to show the capabilities of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps team, who share a common heritage reflected in their ability to rapidly deploy, project power and operate from naval vessels and austere expeditionary bases.
However, for a few of the Marines, like Campbell, who is a native of Holbrook, Massachusetts, attending the festival also means being able to come home for a few days.
“I’m so excited because the main thing for me is that I’ve always wanted to come home and represent the Marine Corps, but I’ve never had the chance to do that when I’m on leave,” said Campbell. “I’m very proud of the city of Boston, so to have this chance to go home and represent my service is an honor.”
Along with Campbell, Marines and sailors aboard the USS Oak Hill have many things to look forward to during the festival including setting up static displays of equipment, giving tours of the ship, and interacting with the residents of Boston.