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Pfc. Megan Ripley, motor transport operator, Marine Wing Support Squadron 374, helps Melany Cahill, 7, niece of Starr Vassion, native of Twentynine Palms, Calif., as she dismounts from a Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement during the Twentynine Palms Independence Day celebration at Luckie Park, July 4, 2015. The event was hosted by the City of Twentynine Palms. (Official Marine Corps photo by Pfc. Levi Schultz/Released)

Photo by Pfc. Levi Schultz

Marines celebrate independence with community

7 Jul 2015 | Pfc. Levi Schultz Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

Since the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, Americans have celebrated the Fourth of July by illuminating the night sky with festive displays of fireworks.

The Twentynine Palms community carried on this American tradition during its Independence Day celebration held for the third year in a row at Luckie Park, July 4, 2015.

“With events like these, we like to get the base out here to enjoy our community to see what is out here for them,” Randy Councell, community services director, City of Twentynine Palms.

The Combat Center contributed to the patriotism of the event by providing static displays of vehicles provided by Marine Wing Support Squadron 374 and 1st Tank Battalion. The units displayed two Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacements and two High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles.

“My favorite part is introducing people to the equipment and showing them what we do,” said Pfc. Megan Ripley, motor transportation operator, Marine Wing Support Squadron 374. “I like the kids here, they’re full of energy and it is refreshing to interact with the community and not be in the field.”

Following the playing of the national anthem and the presentation of colors by the Combat Center Color Guard, Sgt. Maj. Karl Villalino, Combat Center Sergeant Major, took a moment to thank the City of Twentynine Palms for hosting the event.

“These events give us the opportunity to showcase our professionalism, reach out to the community, and let them know we are here for them,” said Lance Cpl. Jamar Hodge, administrative specialist, Combat Center Color Guard. “I’m definitely thankful to be out here and being able to interact with the community.”

The Combat Center also provided static displays and color guard presentations during the Landers Independence Day Celebration July 3 and the Yucca Valley Independence Day Celebration, July 4. The Twentynine Palms celebration is known in the Morongo Basin area for having the largest fireworks presentation in the area.

“We like to be able to do our own fireworks show because we can shoot off a lot larger shells, up to twice the size of the other shows,” Councell said. “We want the public and everyone to be able to come out and enjoy them.”

The night came to end as the last of the dazzling fireworks were set off in a brilliant finale. With this, the Morongo Basin communities celebrated Independence Day in the same patriotic fashion as America’s founding fathers 239 years ago.

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms