Photo Information

Lance Cpl. Zachary Palmer (left), chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense specialist with Combat Logistics Battalion 31, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and a native of Shooter, Ill., and Petty Officer 2nd Class Johnnie Howard, religious programs specialist with the 31st MEU and a native of Winterhave, Fla., speak to students of the Simon Sanchez High School during the 31st MEU and USS Bonhomme Richard port visit here, Sept. 28. The Marines and Sailors traded their last day of liberty in Guam to visit the high school and speak about the advantages of military life and the value of an education. The 31st MEU is the only continuously forward-deployed MEU and is the Marine Corps' force in readiness in the Asia-Pacific region.

Photo by Cpl. Jonathan G. Wright

Sailors and Marines from BHR, 31st MEU visit students in Guam

28 Sep 2012 | Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Karen Blankenship

Sailors and Marines from the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) and the embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit visited Simon Sanchez High School in Guam, Sept. 28.

The volunteers from Bonhomme Richard had the chance to talk to students about a career in the military, the importance of staying in school and of staying away from drugs.

Each Sailor and Marine visited with two different classes and was treated to lunch by the school’s culinary arts class.

“We came here to visit with the local high school students and to talk to them about what life in the military is like, how it’s changed our lives, the value of education and staying in school and to help them start planning for their careers post high school,” said Religious Programs Specialist 2nd Class James Decker with the 31st MEU.  “It’s important because we’ve seen things that most other people don’t see, so we bring a broader perspective to the career discussion.  Many of these young men and women have very little career choices, so the military is one of their main employers.  We give them an opportunity to really see and ask questions about what it would be like to be in the military.”

Cpl. Josh Cruz, a signals intelligence analyst with the intelligence section of the 31st MEU, said that he volunteered to go to the high school because he enjoys doing volunteer work. 

“My favorite part is being able to interact with the kids and teaching them a lot of new things,” said Cruz.  “I like helping out the community and just being there and seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces.”

Community relations projects like this give service members a chance to make a difference and to experience the different cultures as they travel on deployment.

“My favorite part about today was seeing the enthusiasm in the students and for them to be able to learn and experience something new,” said Decker.  “Many of us went into the military because we wanted to experience something new. To see the look on their faces rejuvenates me because it’s so easy to get into the day-to-day rut that you forget why you came in. Just talking with them and sharing those experiences rekindled the fire of why I joined to begin with.”

Bonhomme Richard, commanded by Capt. Daniel Dusek, is the lead ship of the only forward-deployed amphibious ready group and is currently operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility.

The 31st MEU is the only continuously forward-deployed MEU and is the Marine Corps' force in readiness in the Asia-Pacific region.


31st Marine Expeditionary Unit