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1st Tanks Family Day a Smashing Success

 

 
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(This article appeared in the September 18, 1998 issue of the Observation Post, the base newspaper for Twentynine Palms, California.)

2ndLt Jason D. Grose
1st Tank Bn Adjutant

On Friday, August 28th, 1st Tank Battalion held its annual Family Day to honor the backbone of any organization: the family and loved ones of a Marine unit. Beginning with opening remarks by Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Michael W. Hawkins, the celebration kicked off at 0800 on Victory Field where the sports field turned into a showpiece of appreciation for a day.

Beginning the festivities, the onlookers were treated to a military dog exhibition where Rex and Marco, two members of the K9 unit at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC) showed how well they perform their duties. With the help of LCPL Hutchison, CPL Rivers, and a hapless victim in the form of LCPL Glasby, the military dogs put on an exhibition to the delight of kids and adults alike.

PMO also set up a booth for their Child Profile Program were they provided information cards complete with fingerprinting. Once completed, PMO keep these cards on file in case a child becomes missing.

Other booths included Gunnery Sergeant Ira Thompson's selling anything that had a tank logo on it such as shirts, mugs, coins and even stickers. In a nearby booth, the Key Wives Volunteers, led by Marine wives Cheryl Kehrmeyer and Rosanne Wozniak, sold baked goods to the hungry crowd.

Adults were not the only ones to enjoy the festivities. Captain Marc "Fetus" Tunstall, the Family Day coordinator, ensured the kids had a good time by providing a Jump and Bounce ride that at any one time contained dozens of children gleefully jumping around inside the inflated tent-like ride. Additionally, Whatever Little Pony traveled all the way from Riverside, CA to provide free pony rides all day.

But the highlight of the day was the ice-filled dunk tank. Historically, the most popular fund-raiser, this year was no disappointment. Leading the way was LTCOL Hawkins who eyed the icy water below with some intrepidation. He did not have to wait long until he experienced the frigid tub as Peter Roeleveld, the son of a 1st Tank Battalion Staff Sergeant, hit the mark on his first throw. After getting a reprieve from LCPL Woolen who missed three times, CPL Garcia dunked the colonel on his first throw, as did Ashley Young, 8 years old. After another dunking by LCPL Harper of B Co., PFC Dabbs stepped up, paying another dollar after missing three times. On his 5th ball, the young PFC got his revenge on the shivering colonel. He had received NJP the day prior to the event.

After LCPL Subou dunked the colonel, he was let off the hook. But not before both his wife, Katie and son Johnny got a chance to dunk the chattering colonel.

As temperatures soared, so did the hunger and tanks were ready for the crowd. Standing in triple digit temperatures made even hotter by the field kitchen set up for the day, the cooks served up chicken, hotdogs, and burgers along with  large buffet of side dishes. Led by GYSGT O'Bannon, the cooks included SGT Johnson, Corporal Moran, Corporal Sigafuse, LCPL Luc, LCPL Escamilla, LCPL Breen, LCPL Wales, PFC Finnicum, PFC Glover, and PVT Branson.

The Commanding General, BGEN Stanley, and the base Sergeant Major, SGTMAJ Eef, made an appearance just in time for the General to dunk 1stLt Kenfield, a platoon commander for the Battalion. Claiming to "crash the party," the General walked around, greeted family members and Marines, and told LTCOL Hawkins what a wonderful event that 1st Tanks had organized.

With another successful 1st Tank Battalion Family Day in the books, the coordinating officer, Captain Tunstall, let out a sigh of relief. "I am just glad that everything went over smoothly and that the families enjoyed themselves. The look in their eyes made all the hard work worth it."



 

Email -- jdgrose115@polyglut.net
Web -- http://members.tripod.com/~jdgrose115/

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