MarForPac holds family day[MIGRATE]

By Lance Cpl. Achilles Tsantarliotis | June 12, 2009

Photos
Major Christopher Cerwonka, executive officer, Headquarters and Service Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific, 'volunteered' for the pie in the face fundraiser, and gladly posed for a photo moments after. The pie auction was one of the many activities held throughout family day June 13, at Bellows Air Force Base.

Major Christopher Cerwonka, executive officer, Headquarters and Service Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific, 'volunteered' for the pie in the face fundraiser, and gladly posed for a photo moments after. The pie auction was one of the many activities held throughout family day June 13, at Bellows Air Force Base. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Achilles Tsantarliotis)

Marines and family members enjoy grilled food on the beach at Bellows AFB June 13 during MarForPac Family day. Family day served as a welcome home to individual augmentees who've deployed with other units last year.

Marines and family members enjoy grilled food on the beach at Bellows AFB June 13 during MarForPac Family day. Family day served as a welcome home to individual augmentees who've deployed with other units last year. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Achilles Tsantarliotis)

It was a welcomed day of work. Against a backdrop of palm trees and blue seas spreading to the horizon, Marines and family members laughed, feasted and enjoyed a slew of activities.

U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, left their visually stimulating, yet distant, hilltop headquarters for an up-close and personal view of the beach here June 13, as family day commenced.

Family day served as a welcome back for the unit’s Marines and sailors who are often individually augmented to a forward-deployed unit. It also promoted camaraderie and familiarity for new family members and service members alike, a central part of morale, said Sgt. Maj. James Roberts, sergeant major, Headquarters and Service Battalion, MarForPac.

“It’s about getting everyone together,” Roberts said. “You get to meet other Marines you normally wouldn’t meet. Some might not have family. That’s alright. We bring ‘em and they enjoy others’ company.”

“We’re all family,” he explained. “It’s a brotherhood.”

Family day is important for a number of reasons, said Lt. Col. John Sharkey, commanding officer, HQSVCBN. It’s much more than a day out of the office.

Sharkey said despite the size of the command and the operational nature, it’s just as necessary as with any other unit with regular family days. 

“I see all these Operation Homefront (Family day events,)” Sharkey said. “But, I never see them for the individual augmentees [from MarForPac.]

Fundraisers were also held during family day to lower the cost of the Marine Corps Ball for enlisted Marines. Attendees gathered to bid for a chance to “pie” one of five nominated recipients, including the battalion commander.

Most Marines and family members enjoyed the day of work, away from work, and took the opportunity to meet others throughout the unit.

“I think it’s awesome,” said Major Ian Santos, a 39-year-old with G-1, MarForPac.

“You get the families together and meet new people,” said Santos, a New York City native. “It’s especially good for spouses to have others they’re able to talk with. We’re pretty tight at MarForPac – but this builds on it.”