News: 24th MEU Marines, sailors, families hit the beach
Story by Sgt. Richard Blumenstein
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — Nothing brings a group of people together like the combination of food, music, beach sand and a little dodgeball.
Twenty Fourth Marine Expeditionary Unit Marines, sailors and their families took a day off of work to relax at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune’s Onslow Beach, Aug. 9.
The event took place as a way for the service members and their families, many of whom are new to the unit, to meet one another in a relaxed environment. The event also took place as a way to build unit cohesion through activates such as volleyball, dodgeball, horseshoe and limbo.
“The overall purpose of this event is to establish some family relationships and unit comradery,” said Ann Gasperini the unit’s family readiness officer. “Our purpose is to come out here have a good time, and really establish some bounds between military and between families.”
The festivities kicked off after a short speech from Col. Francis Donovan, the commanding officer of the 24th MEU. During the speech, Donovan thanked all in attendance, and talked about the unit family readiness program.
“If we don’t have a good foundation of families networking, talking and using our system we put in place, it makes the deployment longer and tougher,” Donovan said. “Through our family readiness program we have layers that will stay in contact with you, and provide the information you need.”
Event highlights included teams from various sections within the unit to compete in a volleyball tournament. The Intelligence Section took first place in the competition. Informal games of dodgeball also took place.
The game came down to Lance Cpl. Bryan Aguilar, who successfully dodged the ball ten times after becoming the last man, and was named the winner. At the end of the event the Marines, sailors and their families parted ways with a better understanding of what to expect from the unit and after meeting other family members to network with while the unit is deployed.
“I thought it was pretty fun,” said Ashley Young, one of the wives in attendance. “I talked to a few of the other wives. Mostly the coworkers of Nate [her husband] figuring out when they are going to leave and what they do.”