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Keith Arnold, member, 1st Marine Division Association, Desert Cities Mitchell Paige Medal of Honor Chapter, talks to Lance Cpl. William Gorr, rifleman, silent drill platoon, after the Battle Color Ceremony as part of the Palm Desert City Council, Palm Desert Chamber of Commerce and the 1st Marine Division Association, Desert Cities Mitchell Paige Medal of Honor Chapter base tour hosted by 7th Marine Regiment, March 9, 2016. (Official Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Julio McGraw/Released)

Photo by Cpl. Julio McGraw

Magnificent Seventh welcomes Palm Desert to Combat Center

21 Mar 2016 | Story by Cpl. Julio McGraw Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - ‘Magnificent Seventh’ hosted council, chamber and chapter members of Palm Desert aboard the Combat Center for a day of ceremony and training, March 9, 2016.

The City of Palm Desert officially adopted 7th Marine Regiment on Dec. 11, 2014, through the Adopt-a-Unit program. To show their appreciation, the regiment invited members of the Palm Desert City Council; Chamber of Commerce; and the 1st Marine Division Association, Desert Cities Mitchell Paige Medal of Honor Chapter aboard the installation to give them a taste of the Corps. The city supports Marines in the regiment by putting together care packages during the unit’s deployments, and sponsoring events like family days throughout the year.

“[We] want to show our deep appreciation to the leaders of the City of Palm Desert, and recognize the valuable role they play as our adoptive city,” said Lt. Col. Jared Spurlock, executive officer, 7th Marine Regiment. “We wanted to show the city leaders, community members, and our veterans some of the training that our Marines and sailors go through as they prepare for deployment.”

The visiting members of the city and association started the tour of the Combat Center by having breakfast with Magnificent Seventh Marines at Littleton Mess Hall. Following their meal with the Marines, the group observed the Marine Corps Battle Color Detachment, comprised of The Silent Drill Platoon, Marine Corps Drum and Bugle Corps, and the Official Marine Corps Color Guard, and which performs at the Combat Center annually.

“Watching the Marines perform with their rifles and the precision of everyone was amazing.” said Laurent Groult, member, Palm Desert Chamber of Commerce. “I have seen similar things on T.V. but seeing it in real life is even more amazing,”

After the presentation, the group observed 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment Marines conducting a Mission Rehearsal Exercise at Range 220. At the range, Maj. Philip Flambert, Company Commander, Weapons Company, 2/7, explained the purpose of the exercise and his company’s task for the units’ upcoming deployment to the Central Command area of operations.

While there, Flambert and 1st. Sgt. Demond Rhodes, company first sergeant, Weapons Company, 2/7, showed the group the equipment they use, the way they operate in a deployed environment and how to prepare military rations. Following Range 220, the group visited Range 100 where they interacted with another 2/7 company of Marines training in tasks they might encounter while deployed. The group was shown the weapons and equipment like a static M240B medium machinegun and a decommissioned M136 AT4 Anti-Tank Rocket trainer.

“I have a love for Marines because I am one,” said Vince Mast, member, 1st Marine Division Association, Desert Cities Mitchell Paige Medal of Honor Chapter. “These young warriors, they are a whole new class of warrior and it is a real joy for me to see the superb training, leadership and equipment they have. Just knowing that they are there doing what they do to protect us, our families and America, I am truly grateful.”

The 1st Marine Division Association is comprised of Marine Corps veterans who have developed a strong relationship with 7th Marine Regiment through their coordination of support for Marines, sailors and their families when service members are deployed, and during other events throughout the year.

“Our Marine veterans are an integral part of the community, our Marine Corps heritage and legacy,” Spurlock said. “This visit we had with us a Marine Veteran with us who was in Company E, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines during the Korean War. He was able to connect and share stories with Marines currently, in his old outfit. In my opinion, that is an absolutely incredible bonding experience that you simply can't find anywhere else.”

At the end of the tour, the group interacted with leaders of the Magnificent Seventh at the regiment’s headquarters.

“The community has supported our family days, prepared care packages for our forward deployed units, and provided holiday meals and other support to our Marines, sailors and families,” said Spurlock. “The patriotism, heartfelt resolve, and enduring support demonstrated by the City of Palm Desert has been absolutely amazing. The Marines and sailors of the regiment are forever grateful.”

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms