Posts tagged ‘Camp Pendleton’

September 21, 2014

The Return of the MEU

In April Alex was set to return from his deployment. The 13th MEU (Marine Expeditionary Unit) would return from their almost nine month’s away. Of course, Alex wasn’t with his MEU for most of that time. He was on a special assignment in Djibouti which is just as well since he had no great desire to spend nine months on shipboard.

Jim and I wanted to be there to welcome Alex and his fellow Marines home from a successful expedition so we planned a holiday designed to get us on the West Coast with flexibility to be at Camp Pendleton when the MEU returned. The target date was April 24th.

The Marine Corps does a pretty darn good job with ceremony. They really like a good ceremony and all that it represents. The night before the ships were due to port, there was a Family Dinner on base. Jim and I arrived just in time for cocktails at the Officers and Enlisted Personnel Recreation Center. The building is perched high on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It was a festive gathering of about 300 family members and friends of the returning personnel. Dinner was exceptionally bad chicken with frozen vegetables, but spirits were high. Most of the evening was a briefing from various officers and chaplains. There were video messages from Commanding Officers congratulating the MEU and the

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September 28, 2011

San Francisco Fleet Week and Lance Corporal Frost

Exciting news from Camp Pendleton. Alex has been chosen to go to San Francisco Fleet Week. This is quite an event and he’ll be gone about two weeks in total. It is fantastic he was chosen and I think a positive reflection on how he is viewed by command. He won’t say that, but that is what his mother thinks.

He found out a couple of weeks ago and has had to spend a lot of time preparing. He had to get his uniforms in shape and there has been some confusion about how they are expected to dress both en route on board ship and when they have shore leave. I can’t keep all the uniform appellations straight, so I couldn’t quite follow the back and forth on uniforms but I believe they will be wearing the one’s called “Charlies” which look like the picture below.

Some of his uniforms haven’t been worn since he left boot camp and they needed tailoring since he had been starved down to 168 lbs at Parris Island and now weighs quite a bit more.

He will be traveling on the Bonhomme Richard. This is the third iteration of this ship. John Paul Jones lays claim to the first. The second was an aircraft carrier which saw service during WWII and the Korean War and was then de-commissioned. Alex’s edition was commissioned in 1992 and is an amphibious assault ship.

The Bonhomme Richard Amphious Assault Ship

Although Fleet Week isn’t for another week, they will be doing some other things first. They will be making squares in the Pacific to do some sort of un-disclosable maneuvers or something he couldn’t tell me about. Making squares is just what it sounds like. They head out of port, which is San Diego, sail in a square, return to port and switch out personnel. Alex will be on board for the several days they do this with light watch duties.

Port View from Deck

He just called from ship board. He says the ship is fairly spartan. They each have a rack with a secure locker below. You can’t sit up in your rack and they are piled like sardines. There is a vent with air for each rack. There is a common room to hang out in with a broken tv, a ship’s library and not that much else in the way of entertainment. There is no internet and cell phones only work if you stand at an open port-hole since the ship acts like a giant signal block.

Alex's Rack

This is going to be a dress rehearsal as it were for Alex’s deployment which is scheduled to last ten months, but doesn’t take place for a long time. He will be assigned to a ship in the Pacific and life will be very much like this. They will get one day a month in port, but will otherwise be on board. This is highly ironic since the reason Alex never looked at the Navy was he didn’t want to end up on a ship. We have all enjoyed pointing this irony out to him countless times.

The Deck

Once they finish their deployments in San Diego, they head up to Fleet Week. This will be terribly exciting. The Marines and Naval personnel get leave every day. There will be lots of activities and they will all be on show. Alex doesn’t know exactly what he’ll get to do, but it is sure to be a huge adventure. They have been warned a million times to behave on shore and I am sure there will be some good stories.

I always enjoyed Fleet Week in New York. Watching the sailors on leave enjoying the sights of the city was a thrill. I can’t believe that Alex will be doing that in San Francisco. What a fantastic experience for him. Will post updates as he sends them.

January 12, 2011

Camp Pendleton

This week we finally got Skype up and running and we have been having great fun talking to Alex at night. The sound isn’t fantastic, but we can see him and we all crowd around my laptop to have a chance to chat.

Last night Alex told us his big news. He got his orders for after his current training in Pensacola. He will be attached to the First Radio Batallion and stationed in Camp Pendleton. He expects to rotate to Afghanistan next December. How he knows that I don’t quite know.

But Camp Pendleton will be great. Fantastic part of the country and it is supposed to be a good base. He seems happy and excited. He’ll get some leave before he heads out, but hopefully we’ll be able to go out and visit him while he’s there, too.

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