Beach Bash Barbeque Bonds-4th Marines
CAMP SCHWAB, OKINAWA, Japan -- Marines throw footballs and spike volleyballs as the aroma of a barbeque drifts across the Okinawa sand.
Marines with 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, held an annual beach barbeque and family day Sept. 10 at Oura Wan Beach on Camp Schwab. The event also served as a reunion for the Marines who recently returned from a training exercise in Australia.
Most of the Marines attending the event were part of Exercise Koolendong, where they executed joint training with the Australian Army for better interoperability, according to Cpl. Dajon Snead, an intelligence specialist with Headquarters Company, 4th Marines, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
“We have a lot of things going on next month all the way through Christmas,” said Lt. Col. Jim Sweeney, the executive officer of the company. “This was just an opportunity to take a break and recognize the Marines’ hard work. The commanding general has also authorized 4th Marines to have a four-day holiday because they were gone for this past one.”
The beach bash was comprised of a live band, cookout, games and competitions put together by the unit’s family readiness officers.
One such contest was the “Iron Gut Challenge” where participants strived to be the first to finish a tray full of unique foods. Some of the dishes included baby squid, seaweed jelly and chip-like sardines.
The competitions gave the Marines a chance to expand their social interactions beyond who they work with on a daily basis, according to Snead, from Newark, New Jersey.
“It’s a good chance to mix with other shops because most of the time when we get off work everybody goes to their own sections,” said Snead. “The fact that we get everyone here in one spot is perfect.”
The FROs spent approximately a month preparing the beach bash for over 200 Marines and family members.
“All events like this build cohesion with them and the unit because we are a family,” said Staff Sgt. Djahnn A. McClellan, a food service specialist and deputy FRO with the company. “It also helps with family readiness. It (is a chance) for the family members to spend time with their spouses.”
Before concluding the event, Sweeney, from Papillion, Nebraska, congratulated the Marines with Communications Platoon for winning the most challenges.
“I think the event was outstanding,” said Sweeney. “We have a great family readiness program, and I think this was a very successful event. It definitely served its purpose.”