Greeting a Marine from Camp Lejeune, NC. Home for the Holidays
The L/Cpl Robert J Slattery Detachment started a program this year to send Marines home from Camp Lejeune, NC. Marines that could not afford airfare to go home for the holidays received a roundtrip ticket courtesy of our Detachment along with various other organizations and individuals. We also put some cash in their pockets to use for whatever they wanted while home on leave.
When Linda and I were at Camp Lejeune this past November, I met with a SgtMaj at the SNCO Academy at New River Air Station and the XO and 1stSgt of Headquarters of 10th Marines at Camp Lejeune. I told them what we wanted to do: Specifically looking for Marines who could use a little help. I explained to them that our Detachment used to make monthly trips from New Jersey to both Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval hospitals to visit the wounded and their families when the wars were going on hot and heavy in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Our last hospital visit was in 2016 and I decided that we needed to do something more to help support the men and women who wear the uniform of our U.S. Military. We decided to send a few Marines home from Camp Lejeune to spend time with their families during the holidays. We were looking for approximately five or six Marines. The word got out and more donations came in to help with our program. We are now able to send 14 Marines and one Airman home because of the generosity of many. The men and women we were able to send home were from many states across the country, not just New Jersey and New York. The Marines were from Camp Lejeune, Marine Corps Air Station, New River Air Station and Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point.
On Friday, four members of the Slattery Detachment along with one individual, Forrest Elliot, met with the family as they were waiting for their son/brother, a L/Cpl, to get off the plane at Newark International Airport. He arrived from North Carolina. Pictures are included.
Forrest, who is an associate member of the Lakeland Detachment MCL, along with many of his friends, have donated $3500 to this program which included round trip transportation to and from the airport for the Marine and his family. His father served in WWII in the Pacific with the Marines and was awarded a Purple Heart. His cousin served in Viet Nam with the Marines and unfortunately was KIA. Forrest has also sent four boxes of baby clothes to Washington State to help one of the Marines whose sister recently had a baby boy.
We received donations from two other NJ Marine Corps League Detachments, the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation, Operation Jersey Cares and the Knights of Columbus Dr. McDowell Chapter #2248 that paid for five roundtrip airfares. Individual donations also came in from the Knights of Columbus Holy Family Parish and Pete Murray’s Three Club golf event as well as many other personal donations from friends who heard about what we were planning to do.
We were also able to send a $5000 donation to the Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS) at Camp Lejeune to support their Single Marine Program. This Program tries to “Bring Home” to the Single Marines and Sailors who remain at Camp Lejeune for the Holidays. So as you can see, this program has helped in many ways during the holiday season.
I have always said our Detachment was a Gung Ho Detachment. Gung Ho means working together and this shows that this is what we do. No one can do things all by themselves. We all need help and when you work together, good things happen.
A Big Thank You to everyone who worked on and made donations to this very worthwhile Program. It went well and we are planning to expand this program next year. We will aim to start planning early to the middle of next year for an even bigger and better program.