MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Sandy, hot, wet, and in some cases, sticky is the best way to describe the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command Family Day at Onslow Beach here.
The unit function allowed service members to take most of the day off and spend time with their loved ones while getting a chance to know other families in MARSOC.
“I was so excited to bring my kid out and spend a day playing with her instead of being at work,” said Cpl. Jocelyn Proano, a embark non-commissioned officer with Headquarters Company, MARSOC. “It was interesting meeting with the other families who share the same thoughts and have the same questions about MARSOC.”
Proano, 22, painted faces along with the Gunnery Sgt. Robert A. LaRosa, Logistics Company Gunnery Sergeant, helping lighten the mood around the junior Marines and the families present.
“This was a great idea. Not a lot of units do things like this for families,” the 32-year-old La Rosa said. “Most of the families are still getting to know another, and they all are just getting to know MARSOC as a whole.”
While the adults ate and chatted with each other, the kids played games setup and organized by the unit’s sergeants and below.
We had a dunk tank, which Logistics Company Commanding Officer, Maj. Alfredo Dubois, participated in. We also had egg races and sack races where all the participants got candy as a prize,” said Lance Cpl. Randi L. Ryan, administrative clerk, HQ Company. “I’m just so glad that a lot of people showed up to support this event.”
While the midday sun would drain most people, it seemed to energize the kids and turned the would-be water balloon toss into an all out water balloon fight, which lasted until the end of the day and where anyone was fair game.
It was a very great part of the day and a big boost to our unit’s morale, said Sgt. Randall A. Satterwhite, a maintenance manager, HQ Company. "I only wished we had more people from all the units and more balloons to throw.”
The family day event is one of many designed to help servicemembers of MARSOC become familiar with one another and help lower cost of birthday ball tickets. Past events have been car washes, unit picnics and sports tournaments.
“We want everyone to take an active role in our unit functions and we want them to know, with all of our events and fund raisers, we still can get our everyday mission accomplished,” said La Rosa, a native of Ashford, Conn.
As the event wound down, the troops and their families, most soaked from water balloon warfare, helped pick up the area and said there goodbyes to their new friends with hopes that their unit would do this again someday soon.
“This was the best planning and turnout of all the events for the year,” said Proano, a Clifton, N.J., native said. “Things like this keep the unit close and create another type of family, and nothing can top that.”
Upcoming planned events for MARSOC include a Spouses’ All Call, a football and basketball tournament and a donation carwash with all funds donated to their Marine Corps Birthday Ball, scheduled for Oct. 28 in Wilmington, N.C.