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Fireworks explode in front of the Combat Center's Victory Field Saturday night as the Marine Corps Community Services put on an Independence Day Celebration.

Photo by Pfc. Michael T. Gams

Independence booms over Combat Center

10 Jul 2009 | Pfc. Michael T. Gams

More than 8,000 Marines, sailors, their families and community members flooded the Combat Center’s Victory Field Saturday to celebrate Independence Day.

The night kicked off at 6 p.m. with a performance by Marines Got Talent and ended at 9 p.m. with the largest fireworks display in the Morongo Basin.

Patrons enjoyed music from the Combat Center Band and Deep 6, a local band made up of Marines and civilians. Deep 6 played a wide range of songs from well-known artists including Sublime, AC/DC, Black Crows and Taylor Swift.

Vendors were spread throughout the field providing refreshments for the attendees while they enjoyed various games provided, including a water slide, rock wall, Jupiter Jump, one-on-one basketball, an obstacle course and a paintball enclosure.

Cheers erupted from the crowd as Brig. Gen. Charles M. Gurganus, the Combat Center’s commanding general thanked everyone for attending the celebration with the base, and mentioned all the sponsors who helped make the night possible.

As it grew dark, the lights on the field flickered out, and everyone settled down to watch the fireworks. As the first flare popped into the sky, oohs and ahhs echoed throughout the field.

Kelly Cox, a resident of Twentynine Palms, Calif., who brought her one-year-old daughter, said the event was one of the best Fourth of July celebration she has ever witnessed, mostly due to her daughter’s reaction to the fireworks.

“It was so adorable, she kept trying to reach out and grab the fireworks as they lightened up the sky,” she said. “This entire night has been one good thing after another. I’m surprised, yet very happy, so many people showed up to support these Marines and celebrate this holiday with them.”

Deborah Hastings-Smith, a resident of Joshua Tree, Calif., brought her family of five to the Combat Center for the festivities.

“I’ve been coming here for years,” she said. “It’s always been great fun, great fireworks and they put so much into the celebration. It really helped get me in the Fourth of July mood.”

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms