News: VMAQ-4 sparks esprit de corps
Story by Lance Cpl. Tyler J. Bolken
QUANTICO, Va. - The Marine Corps’ proud tradition and storied history could humble any man or woman and holds significant merit to active duty Marines and their family members.
Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 4 Marines and their family members loaded four charter busses at the station theater, June 29. They took a field trip to the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Va., followed by a stop in Arlington, Va., to see the Sunset Parade at the Iwo Jima Memorial featuring the silent drill team and the commandant’s own band.
The goal for this trip was to bring the squadron together as a whole, including the Marines’ family members, while having an opportunity to take in some motivating Marine Corps history and tradition, explained Lt. Col. David A. Suggs, commanding officer for VMAQ-4.
“A stagnant state kills and can erode morale,” said Suggs. “Taking our Marines to events away from the air station sparks a lot more interest. The squadron picnics can get a little played out.”
VMAQ-4 Sgt. Maj. Jerry L. Bates was instrumental in the planning of this evolution, said Suggs.
The trip involved full squadron participation and was free to the Marines and their dependents.
“There was a huge amount of logistics, from travel arrangements, to where we’d be making stops along the way,” said Lori A. Gaston, family readiness officer for VMAQ-4. “The Marine Corps Association helped assist and sponsor the trip as well.”
The charter busses arrived at the museum around noon after a six hour drive and the Marines and their families strolled through the many wings of the museum until about 3 p.m.
“I feel like the museum gave my family a better feeling of what I do and what the Marine Corps is about,” said Cpl. Matthew P. Chase, flight equipment technician with VMAQ-4. “It makes me feel better.”
Once VMAQ-4 finished at the museum, they reloaded the busses and stopped to eat dinner then headed to the Sunset Parade in Arlington.
Suggs thought the Sunset Parade culminated the squadron’s day together and made the trip even more inspiring and memorable.
“The evening Sunset Parade was definitely motivating,” said Chase, who brought his fiancé and stepson on the trip.
VMAQ-4 watched the parade together and seemed unified as one among the thousands of other spectators.
Following a final pass in review by the silent drill team the Marines from VMAQ-4 and their families boarded the buses for the haul back to the air station.
“I’d say that when this squadron goes to deploy, they’re going to be even tighter,” said Suggs.