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Deanna Storer, president, Officer Spouses Club, announces bingo letters during a Chinese New Year celebration at the Officers’ Club, Jan. 31, 2014. The event featured prizes for bingo card winners and Chinese cuisine for all.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Paul S. Martinez

Combat Center hosts Chinese New Year experience

1 Feb 2014 | Lance Cpl. Paul S. Martinez

Celebration and laughter filled the air as Marines and their spouses gathered for a festive start to the Chinese New Year at the Officers’ Club Jan. 31, 2014.

Representatives with the Officer Spouses Club, who organized the event, kept the party going with continuous games, food, prizes and a unique traditional Chinese dance.

"The purpose of the OSC is to promote friendship, community, mentorship and to provide a social setting for its members,” said Kristie Kennedy, representative, Officer Spouses Club. “The OSC also raises funds for charitable purposes that primarily benefit graduating seniors and military dependents. Unit representatives came together this past fall and chose the event they want to help coordinate in support of the OSC.”

According to Kristie, the event was chosen by her, representing the Tactical Training Exercise Control Group, and Jennifer Livingston, unit representative for Marine Wing Support Squadron 374, to coincide with the date of the Chinese New Year. The event quickly sold all 150 tickets.

As attendees filled the room to enjoy Chinese cuisine, games of bingo commenced. Prizes included health and beauty products, gift cards, and an ammunition gift set. Paper lamps, wooden horses, and fortune cookies supported the Chinese theme, and were provided by donations and volunteers, according to Kristie.
Halfway through the event, students from the University of California, Riverside, performed a Chinese lion dance for all present. Utilizing a lion costume, the dancers maneuvered and jumped throughout the room.

“The dance is performed to bring good luck and fortune and to ward off evil spirits,” said Jordan Jew, student, UCR. “People usually have this dance for grand openings, weddings, and parties.”

All eyes were on the dance as the authentic playing of drums rocked the room and Jew and a fellow student paraded throughout the floor in the traditional lion costume, symbolizing the start of the year of the horse.

“This was my first OSC event and I was very pleased,” said Tina Russ, wife of CWO2 William Russ, avionics officer, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 1. “The dance was wonderful and very exciting.”

After the dance, the students were commended for their performance and awarded certificates. Games continued until all prizes were off the shelf.

“I am very thankful that these two units teamed together to make this a successful event and for the wonderful college students that came to perform,” Jennifer said. “Our next event will be the OSC Red Dress Event on Feb. 26. This is an all hands event.”

As attendees prepared to depart the event, they did not forget to read the contents of their fortune cookies, hoping to find fortune and good luck during the Chinese New Year of the horse.

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms