OKINAWA, Japan (August 15, 2008) --
OKINAWA, Japan—With burgers sizzling, children laughing and waves crashing, Marines, Sailors and their family members enjoyed some time off and fun in the sun.
Around 250 service and family members of the Combat Logistics Battalion 31, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, enjoyed the unit’s “Family Meet and Fun Day,” Aug 8, at Orawan beach, Camp Schwab. The activities included Volleyball, family and team racing events, tug a war, horseshoes, arts and crafts, waterslide and dunk tank, clown presentation and other team building entertainment.
“The purpose of the ‘Family Meet and Fun Day’ was to simply provide team building activities, education for the families and some entertainment with time off,” said Mr. Antonio Gordon, the CLB 31 Family Readiness Officer. “We wanted to extend a warm hand out to the families, to show that we care about the morale and well being of the service members and families.”
Along with activities like grappling, Tahitian dance lessons and a clown performance, the families got to gain a better understanding of where and what their serving family members do.
“We wanted to show the families we could have fun, that the CLB is not just about working late hours and deploymenting,” said Navy Lieutenant Dean Vanbrunt, the CLB 31 Chaplain . “Its great that we were able to spend some quality time with the kids and spouses, and show them we aren’t all about training.”
One point of a family day is to harbor the activities around the family members, so they can spend some quality time with their serving Mom or Dad. According to Vanbrunt, a native of Twin Lakes Wis., single marines also enjoyed there time on the beach and participated on all the events.
“Usually these are orientated to the families, but the single marines really got involved with the horseshoes, volleyball and the clown,” said Vanbrunt. “In my entire career, I have been to 5 family days, and this by far was the best.”
The entire event took three weeks to prepare and cost around 4,500 dollars, with support from the United Service Organizations (USO) and Marines Corps Community Services and Single Marine Program, but at the end of the day Gordon added the outcome was worth the time and money and the Marines really seemed to enjoy themselves.
“Family day was amazing, it’s the best fun day I’ve had since I’ve been in,” said Lance Cpl. Frances Clamor, a warehouse clerk with CLB 31. “At first I was skeptical because some functions from my other commands weren’t so great, but this one surprised me, honestly, it was a lot of fun.”
According to Clamor, a native of Glendale Ariz., overall the day gave all the Marines and Sailors a chance to relax and take a little break from all the hard work and training they had been doing.
With the 31st MEU’s annual fall patrol right around the corner, everyone must have their head in the game and be completely focused on the mission at hand. With a successful family fun day easing the minds and giving the CLB Marines, Sailors and their families a break, training and operations can come back to focus.