On Thanksgiving, our city’s adopted Marines, and their families had much to be thankful for, chiefly, their successful completion and return from a seven-month deployment at sea. During the 11th MEU (Military Expeditionary Unit), the Marines joined Naval and Air Force Units on Naval Assault Ships, which conduct amphibious exercises, and visit allies in the Southern and Eastern seas. In their ports of call, the Marines conduct military exercises with allied forces, to train, assist and maintain combat preparedness. The presence of these naval ships also serves to maintain open and safe passage lanes for International commercial ships. Continuous training while on board the ship maintains the Marines’ fitness and readiness to provide both amphibious to ground operations during military conflict or global emergency, which may and has included rescues and medical care during typhoons and other weather- related catastrophes.
3rd Battalion, 5th Marines is largely composed of Junior Marines between the ages of 18-22, the same age when most of our own community’s children leave for college. Providing and representing community support to these young men and women is a worthwhile manner to demonstrate appreciation and respect for the volunteer choice they have made, which benefits us all.
Thanks to the contributions of many Nellie Gail Ranch and Laguna Hills supporters, Team Darkhorse was able to provide a tremendous welcome this year. Welcome Home bags decorated by local school children and filled with donated beef jerky, beverage, protein powder, and hundreds of home-baked goodies baked by our “Baking Brigade,” were handed each Marine as they stepped off buses transporting them from the Naval Ships. Inside each bag was a printed invitation to “Pizza Night” at the Barracks. On that cold Thursday night, grateful Marines lined up to grab a pizza, another round of homemade goodies, and Monster energy drinks. Also, joining us on deck to create a family welcome home was Nellie Gail Ranch resident and Boy Scout Leader Michael Friedl and his son Luke. They distributed bags of popcorn purchased from Troop 700 by folks who wanted to “donate their purchase to someone deserving.” Luke remembered our city’s adopted Marines as “someone deserving!”
Thank you to everyone who helped us show these returning Marines, our love!