USS BONHOMME RICHARD, At Sea -- Free of the belly of the ship and surrounded by miles of water, Marines and Sailors brought out their grills and beach equipment for a picnic. The troops of the USS Bonhomme Richard were gifted with a day in the sun, away from the stress and struggles that come with ship life.
On the flight deck of the ship, Marines and Sailors of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit ate a barbequed meal and enjoyed a variety of recreational activities during a steel beach picnic here, September, 30.
Thousands of hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken breasts and ribs flooded the grills on top of the dock landing ship as popular music played. After eating the troops brought out footballs, frisbees, played golf, ladders and cornhole, freeing their minds of the stressful day.
“It was nice to go throw footballs, eat good food and get away from the chow hall and get out in the sun,” said Lance Cpl. Thomas Ward, a rifleman with Company G., Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 31st MEU and a native of Peculiar, Mo. “It is not every day we get the chance to walk out on the flight deck and have a good time.”
After the flight deck picnic, the troops looking for a fitness challenge were assembled in the gym for a weight lifting competition. Here the Marines and Sailors were able to show off the hours of time spent in the ship’s gym.
“I continuously push myself in the gym everyday to better myself mentally and physically to overcome obstacles that my present themselves in the future,” said Lance Cpl. Tae So, a rifleman with Co. G., BLT 2/1, 31st MEU and a native of Defiance, Ohio. “I enjoyed being able to participate in the weight lifting competition and win the bench press portion.”
The competitions were designed to highlight some of the Marines or Sailors who have dedicated themselves to physical fitness and readiness. The “Bench Press Your Own Body Weight Competition” was won by So, lifting 190 Lbs, 31 times.
“We usually do this sort of thing about halfway through the patrols,” said David Glazier, the fitness boss for the ship and a native of Kingfisher, Okla. “These kind of activities are presented to the Sailors and Marines to help improve their morale and get them interacting with one another.”
The 31st MEU is the only continuously forward-deployed MEU and is the Marine Corps’ force in readiness in the Asia-Pacific region.