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    SOI-West Marines celebrate Thanksgiving away from home

    SOI-West Marines celebrate Thanksgiving

    Photo By Lance Cpl. Mhecaela Watts | U.S. Marines with Infantry Training Battalion, School of Infantry-West, Marine Corps...... read more read more



    Story by Lance Cpl. Mhecaela Watts 

    Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

    MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, California – At Thanksgiving, families come together to celebrate the holiday season. Many Marines will travel home to see their families, but some Marines do not have that luxury because they are training at locations like the School of Infantry-West (SOI-West) on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. The Armed Services Young Men’s Christian Association created the Home Hospitality Adopt-a-Marine program to solve that problem.

    “The Thanksgiving Home Hospitality is in partnership with the School of Infantry where 700 Marines are placed into a home for Thanksgiving,” said Maxine Langdon, the marketing and events manager with ASYMCA, Camp Pendleton. “Home Hospitality is a great way for the Marines to spend what is typically their first holiday away from home and strengthens community relations.”

    The Home Hospitality Adopt-a-Marine for Thanksgiving Program was created several years ago. Many families open their homes for the Marines of SOI-West to celebrate Thanksgiving. Families will “adopt” two or more Marines so they can enjoy a home-cooked meal on Thanksgiving Day. Approximately 1,300 Marines participate in this program each year.

    “It was very thoughtful that the YMCA would do this program for us, considering we all are miles away from home, and do not have the option to spend it with our family,” said U.S. Marine Corps Pfc. Douglas Galicia, a student with the Infantry Training Battalion (ITB), SOI-West. “We were very fortunate that another family took us in as one of their own.”

    The SOI-West Marines began their day at 7 a.m. when the families picked them up from the SOI-West parade deck. From there, the families took the Marines to their homes and gave them the family holiday experience they were missing. After the conclusion of their Thanksgiving Day meal, the Marines returned to SOI-West later that evening.

    Families volunteering for the program are asked to adopt two Marines, but may adopt more. Families must fill out a registration form with the ASYMCA and SOI-West command to volunteer for the program.

    “I felt like it was a new experience to try for once,” said U.S. Marine Corps Pfc. Richard Garcia, a student with Infantry ITB, SOI-West. “Being adopted by a family who I would not know was pretty amazing, and it turned out to be a good experience.”

    Home Hospitality Adopt-a-Marine exists to help the Marines feel at home when they are away from home during the holidays. The program has existed for over twenty years and continues to grow in volunteers. Galicia and Garcia were thankful that the Buhler family adopted them for the day, making it a memorable moment for the two to experience as they continued their training the next day.



    Date Taken: 11.24.2022
    Date Posted: 12.08.2022 19:23
    Story ID: 434710
    Location: CAMP PENDLETON, CA, US 

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    Downloads: 0