MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif., --
The cool afternoon air at Felix Field was thick with the smell of smoky barbecue and the sounds of music and chatter Oct. 6, 2011, as Marines scaled a rock climbing wall and were catapulted off a mechanical bull.
The Headquarters Battalion Family Day included two bungee trampolines, a rock climbing wall, a mechanical bull, moon bounces, a raffle, a cotton candy machine, a disc jockey and free food and drinks.
Marines, sailors and their families sat down to a feast of burgers, hot dogs, chicken, potato salad, chips, cakes and cookies, all served by their noncommissioned officers and staff NCOs.
“I enjoyed serving the Marines chow, and I enjoyed spending time with the Marines and getting to see their families and seeing a side of them I don’t get to see during normal work time,” said Gunnery Sgt. Rena M. Bruno, the company first sergeant for Company B, HQBN.
As Marines took time to relax, talk and eat, their children ran through the playground and exhausted themselves on the moon bounces. However, the thing families enjoyed most was being able to spend time with each other.
“Since my husband works Monday to Friday, we only see each other at night,” said Luisana Figueroa, a mother of four and husband of Sgt. Henry Figueroa, the noncommissioned officer in charge of passenger travel with the Distribution Management Office. “So this is a good time for us to spend time together with the kids.”
Separate sections within the battalion have had family events such as this before. What set this event apart was that this was the first battalion-sized Family Day since 2009, said Kathleen Schmidt, the HQBN family readiness officer.
The idea to have the battalion wide family day began at the beginning of the year, a difficult event to plan, with the different sections all having conflicting schedules. The command had two weeks to plan all the components for the day’s events.
“We wanted to do it all in one day,” said Bruno. “That way the Marines can build the camaraderie that they did today, and then the families could be able to watch that and join the Marines.”
Marines, sailors and families enjoyed a day of fun and food. They spent time with their families, got to know each other better and introduced one another to their spouses and children.
“When you have family readiness and morale, you have mission readiness,” added Schmidt.