News: Halfway home: 7th ESB celebrates with Hawaiian-style bash
Story by Cpl. Kenneth Jasik
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – It was no ordinary day at the beach as more than 500 Marines, sailors and family members gathered for a Hawaiian luau at Camp Pendleton’s Del Mar Beach, Aug. 3, celebrating the halfway mark of 7th Engineer Support Battalion’s 7-month deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The Hawaiian-style bash was complete with food, volleyball, face painting, music, hula dancers, a coconut-breaking demonstration and – if the beach setting wasn’t relaxing enough – a massage therapist who provided 10-minute massages throughout the event.
The purpose of the luau was to bring together families of the deployed Marines, said Alan Reid, family readiness officer, 7th ESB, Combat Logistics Regiment, 1st Marine Logistics Group.
“We want to show our appreciation for the Marines who are here in the battalion main, just want to thank them for all the hard work they’ve been doing supporting everyone,” said Reid, 44, from Cleveland, “and also a chance for us to say ‘thank you’ to the families for their support to our Marines.”
One of the Marine spouses, Jennifer Drake, attended the beach party with her 2-year-old son Lucas and husband Sgt. Jordan Drake, who deployed to Afghanistan last year. She said she and her husband enjoy the events organized by the family readiness officers.
“I love the family events, especially because they involve the kids and play music,” said Drake.
One of the volunteers who helped organize the luau credits the battalion’s success to family-oriented events like these.
“I think the family readiness program is pivotal in the Marine Corps right now,” said Dawn Francis, command team advisor for 7th ESB’s family readiness programs. “The battalion would not be what it is without it. We’ve had a really successful deployment because of our family readiness officer.”