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Madison, 2, daughter of Sgt. Chris Jones, unmanned aerial vehicle technician, Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 3 plays with her dad during a VFW sponsored squadron party.

Photo by Cpl. William J. Jackson

VFW sponsors day of family fun for ‘Phantoms’

29 Mar 2013 | Cpl. Ali Azimi

The Veterans of Foreign Wars, District 22, held a squadron party for the Marines and sailors of Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle squadron 3 March 22, at the Combat Center’s Heritage Park. Members of the VFW contacted the unit during their deployment to Afghanistan in 2010 and adopted them for their Adopt-a-Unit program.

The VFW is a national organization, made up of service members who have served in combat zones, that supports veterans and active duty service members from all branches.

For more than eight years, VFW posts around the world have adopted units and sponsored events that benefit the unit’s service members.

The event provided an afternoon of fun and food for approximately 175 Marines and their families.

“We wanted to have an event for the VMU, because they’ve been gone. Since the last one, it’s been three years,” said Lee Quarcelino, commander, District 22, VFW. “We got them all together, brought everybody in and we want (the Marines) to have a nice day, compliments of us and the Marine Corps.”

In the center of the park, kids played around in the grass as a band played music on stage. Marines dressed in padded sumo suits and rammed into each other to knocking their opponent out of the circle. Marines also stepped up to the dunk tank to soak officers and staff noncommissioned officers.  

The squadron’s party helped raise funds for the unit’s Marine Corps ball in November and gave Marines a chance to celebrate the completion of their recent involvement supporting units in the Integrated Training Exercise, the Marine Corps’ premiere pre-deployment training program.

“They’re having a good time,” said Sgt. Maj. James L. Johnson, VMU-3 sergeant major. “Anytime they can get together and it’s outside the work place, they enjoy one another’s company.”

In addition to sponsoring events for VMU-3, the Adopt-a-Unit Program builds bonds between the organization and the unit. It introduced the VFW and their cause to VMU-3 Marines and welcomed them to apply for the organization.

“It’s awesome,” Johnson said. “These guys are us in a few years. “I think it’s very important for young Marines now to understand the power that they actually have and what they can do to join it now and be a part of it in the future.”


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