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James Middleton, 7, attempts to hit a target with a ball to dunk his father, Lt. Col. Brian Middleton, battalion commander, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, 7th Marine Regiment, during the battalion’s Family Day at Desert Winds Golf Course April 29, 2016. (Official Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Levi Schultz/Released)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Levi Schultz

‘Darkside’ bonds over family day

5 May 2016 | Lance Cpl. Levi Schultz Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

Marines, sailors and their families bonded over a variety of activities during 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, 7th Marine Regiment’s Family Day at the Desert Winds Golf Course April 29, 2016.

The event provided the battalion and its family members an opportunity to foster camaraderie in an environment outside of the workplace. There was no shortage of entertainment with events like corn hole, a golf tournament, a dunk tank and even an inflatable bounce house for the children.

“It’s an awesome opportunity to meet new wives and families,” said Mary Gray, wife of Capt. Justin Gray, infantry officer, 3/4. “[The unit] activated recently so everybody is getting to know each other. The kids love it, the guys get to be competitive, and it’s easy to meet other moms.”

The event was organized by the battalion family readiness officer as part of the Family Readiness Program with support from 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, and the Bob Hope USO in Palm Springs, Calif.

“We believe tremendously in the Family Readiness Program,” said Lt. Col. Brian Middleton, battalion commander, 3/4. “I think it helps make Marines, sailors and their families stronger and more resilient.”

According to Middleton, since the battalion’s activation last October, it has grown from 100 Marines and sailors to more than 720.

“Since our activation, we have been taking advantage of the great community aboard MCAGCC,” Middleton said. “I think you could hold the same event aboard a different base but it wouldn’t be the same. There’s something special about being here.”

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms