I MEF Marines strengthen community ties
By Lance Cpl. Cutler Brice, I Marine Expeditionary Force
SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- Honor, courage and commitment are the values that define every Marine. They are bound by these values that guide their moral compass on and off the battlefield. When Marines are not deployed, they can sometimes be found in their neighborhoods representing these distinguishing values through community outreach events.
In 2017, I Marine Expeditionary Force Marines and Sailors supported more than 140 community events by providing color guards, educational static and mobile displays, military working dog demonstrations, vocalists and guest speakers. Some were as large as the San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl and Parade or the 58th annual City of Torrance Armed Forces Day Parade, events that hosted more than 100,000 spectators.
“It’s always an exciting experience to see little kids’ faces light up when they see military vehicles roll down the street,” said 1st Lt. Eric Davis, platoon commander, Company B, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, after participating in the SDCCU Holiday Bowl Parade.
These community events provide Marines with an opportunity to interact with community members on a one-on-one basis.
“It’s about connection,” said Frank Pulley, a member of the Marine Corps Association and Foundation. “The more Marines that connect with the community, it provides a positive representation of the command and display of Marine Corps’ core values.”
Marines hold themselves to a higher standard, which can be seen in the uniform they wear. The attention to detail of the precise placement of ribbons and badges, the crisp creases in the pants and shirt, and the shine of the shoes is a reflection of that standard.
“When the Marines come out to our events, the youth are enamored by the uniform and excited at the chance to meet a Marine in person,” said Dr. DeVera H. Heard, board member of Volunteer Center of Orange County. “The adults are just as excited, especially the elderly and veterans, because it gives them something outside of their normal day.”
Kevin Faulconer, mayor of San Diego, mentioned that Marines are not just serving the community, they are an integral part of it. They are neighbors, family and friends.
“I can’t say enough about the men and women of the United States Marine Corps,” said Faulconer. “They are a part of who we are in San Diego and the fabric of our community. To see all our Marines out here showing their pride in our country and our city, being active members in the community, is what makes this a very special place and a special country.”