MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER, TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
As more young Americans volunteer to serve in the military, support from communities across the country has poured out in honor of the nation’s men and women in uniform.
The city of Hemet, Calif., in a heart-felt display of support for the armed forces, formally adopted the Combat Center’s 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion during a ceremony at the battalion’s vehicle ramp March 16.
“Recently, the economy has taken the conflict overseas off of the front pages,” said Eric McBride, the mayor of Hemet. “We wanted to reinforce that we still have men and women over there, and we as a community need to support them.”
McBride said the decision to formally adopt the battalion was presented at the March 10 city council meeting after learning the “Wolfpack” is slated for a deployment in the near future.
The official adoption proclamation was presented to 3rd LAR during the ceremony March 16. The battalion’s Marines and sailors are looking forward to the unique partnership with the city.
“These adoptions are mutually beneficial for the Marines and their families, and the communities that want to show their support,” said Lt. Col. Ken Kassner, 3rd LAR’s commanding officer. “As the commanding officer of this storied battalion, it is my distinct honor and privilege to receive this adoption from the city.
“Our motto in 3rd LAR battalion is ‘the strength of the pack is the wolf; the strength of the wolf is the pack,’ and we are a stronger organization today for being members of the Hemet community.”
Hemet, a city of approximately 75,000 residents, is home to a large number of retired service members, many of them former Marines, said Jim Foreman, a Hemet city council member.
“A large part of our community are retired Marines, so it was ideal for us to adopt a Marine battalion,” he said.
While the “Wolfpack” is deployed, Hemet’s leaders plan to send them care packages filled with items the Marines need by working with veterans’ organizations and by getting the battalion’s contact information out to the city’s residents.
The City of Hemet hopes to continue its formal relationship with the battalion after they return from Iraq, both in garrison and on future deployments.
“When they come back from deployment, hopefully we can have a big celebration in our city,” Foreman said. “We’ll do anything we can to assist. You guys risk your lives for our country and it’s important no one ever forgets it.”