LA QUINTA, Calif. - Combat Center Marines ceremoniously represented the Marine Corps in front of a national audience during the Career Builder Challenge Military Appreciation Ceremony at the Tom Weiskopf Private Course located in the Professional Golfers Association of America Course West in La Quinta, Calif., Jan. 23, 2016.
More than 50 Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School students, led by Gunnery Sgt. Antonio Soto, company gunnery sergeant, MCCES, ceremoniously marched in their Blue Dress B uniforms onto the 18th green of the TPC Stadium Course at the conclusion of the Career Builder Challenge golf tournament.
“Events like this are the reason why some people join the Marine Corps,” said Pvt. James Barrett, student, MCCES. “We get to be out here in our best uniform representing the Marine Corps, as a whole, on such a large stage.”
In addition to the marching detail, the 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion Color Guard presented the National and Marine Corps Colors as Navy Band Southwest played their rendition of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner.’
After 3rd LAR retired the colors, speakers from the PGA and Career Builder Challenge spoke, thanking all active duty, veterans and retired service members. Some of the speakers included Phil Mickelson, professional golfer, and U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Patrick Alston, command senior enlisted leader, United States Strategic Command.
Alston expressed his gratitude toward the individuals, organizations and charities that support the military for everything they do and reminded everyone of the importance of continuing to back the troops.
Throughout the ceremony, the formation of MCCES students stood stoic in formation behind the lectern and retained their bearing as retired U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Jacque Keeslar and U.S. Army 1st Lt. Brian-Lee Donarski, , were presented with a custom set of Callaway golf clubs.
“The Marines did a fantastic job,” said Soto. “They showed discipline and professionalism the entire presentation, and I could not have asked anymore of them.”
The Marines were afforded the opportunity to stay at the Patriots Outpost tent prior to the ceremony where they were given food and beverages. After the presentation, Mickelson and his wife, Amy, further showed their appreciation for the military by signing autographs and posing for photos with the Marines.
“We are glad to be out here interacting with the community,” said Soto. “The Marines really did the Marine Corps and the base justice by showing how good of a group of men and women they really are.”