News: Marines and sailors take supporters for an adventure
Story by Lance Cpl. Alfred V. Lopez
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Approximately 50 members of the Dana Point 5th Marine Regiment Support Group and citizens of Dana Point, Calif., stepped into the boots of Marines and sailors of 5th Marines they support, during an adventure day at Camp San Mateo, July 7.
“We all learned a lot today, especially about the weapons and the training that goes into a being in an infantry battalion,” said Michael S. McCartney, a member of the Dana Point Support Group from Laguna Niguel, Calif., and a former Marine. “We were blessed today with great weather, great surroundings and most of all great Marines.”
The supporters experienced different parts of training that Marines and sailors go through on a daily basis. They toured the infantry immersion trainer and saw how the IIT enhances training by simulating the environments warriors will face while deployed. The IIT compound is built to look, feel and even smell like various environments Marines will face in Afghanistan.
Supporters then handled and learned about weapons including the M9 pistol and the M249 squad automatic weapon. A Marine Corps Martial Arts Program demonstration was also held, showing the visitors the importance mental and physical discipline.
After having a hearty meal at the chow hall, supporters headed onto a range to learn basic shooting drills and the proper way to engage a target with the M4 carbine.
“I think we’ve gained a lot just from this one day,” said McCartney. “Just from our interactions with all the Marines, I think we now have a better understanding of what they do on a day-to-day basis.”
Dana Point is the regiment’s adoptive city. Since 2004, their mission has been to provide support and outreach to the 5th Marines and sailors when deployed, and to take care of their families living in the Camp Pendleton area. From fundraisers to family day events, the adopted city has shown tremendous support for the regiment.
“I think our support group is fantastic. The city of Dana Point and all the great folks from there are just kind, loving and generous people,” said Sgt. Maj. Ernest K. Hoopii, the regimental sergeant major of 5th Marines. “We had an opportunity to make them feel, see, taste and smell what our Marines do everyday and I think they had a blast!”
“We’re the biggest active Marine support group,” said McCartney, from Laguna Niguel, Calif. “We’re a group of normal citizens who want to get involved and support our Marines.”
After a day filled with immersion training environments, the hand-to-hand combat techniques of MCMAP and firing at the range, membaers of the Dana Point Support Group developed a better understanding of the work their Marines and sailors do on a daily basis.
“I’m glad everyone had a great time,” said Hoopii. “It was safe and it was fun, and it was definitely something they’ll remember for a long time.”