Thursday, June 10, 2010

13th MEU Families, Friends Bond During Family Day

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Under a bright sun, service members and their families squared off against each other, shooting gobs of green paint from makeshift cover as their younger children played in inflatable playhouses.
After playing several team matches, the intelligence section pummeled operations, administration, logistics and communications in a paintball "capture the flag" style tournament.
"It was freaking awesome," said Cpl. Chris Papson, an intelligence systems administrator with the 13th MEU. "We had a good team. I've been in dozens of games, so I brought my technique, which is shooting as many rounds down range as possible while moving fast. The funniest part was getting shot up by the little kids."
For some of the kids, this day marked the first time they shot with a paintball gun, which is often called a paintball marker by enthusiasts.
Members of Calvary Chapel, San Juan Capistrano, decorated children's faces at an arts and crafts booth. They also catered the event complete with hotdogs, hamburgers and barbecued chicken.
"We have a heart for service members, and we're glad to be out here today," said Jon Rogers, one of the coordinators of the event. "We're here to support those who support us keeping the home front secure."
In addition to volunteer work from Calvary Chapel, many of the Marines helped set up and supervise the various events.
"I've worked with kids at horse ranches and volunteer events and when they're happy I'm happy," said Pfc. Blake Johnson, a radio operator with the communications section of the 13th MEU. "Seeing them happy makes it all worth it."
A watermelon eating competition concluded the day's events when Pfc. Omar Brown, a radio operator from the communications section, cleaned out a watermelon half and defeated the Marines from each section. Representatives from the Anaheim Marine Adoption Committee provided gift cards for the winners in the competitions.
"This family day has been very successful with great turnout," said Bryan Vaughn, the family readiness officer for the 13th MEU. "We've had great support from the Marines and their wives."
The 13th MEU plans to hold another family day in August, as they begin the "meat and potatoes" of their work-ups for deployment. Just as this family day brought the MEU together, future family days will help strengthen not just the bond between Marines but their loved ones as well.

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