CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Two battalions turned troop welfare into training as they collected food to make the holiday season brighter for all.
With cans in hand, II Marine Expeditionary Force's 8th Communications Battalion conducted a Thanksgiving fun run here in November. Each Marine and sailor carried two cans of food during physical training before dropping it off at the halfway point. The 2.6-mile training session collected more than 1,300 cans of food before the sun rose.
Lieutenant Cmdr. Larry P. Ferrell, one of the coordinators for the event and battalion chaplain, said the food would be redistributed among battalion service members who are less fortunate this holiday season.
"The Thanksgiving food run not only conditioned our physical bodies, it positively conditioned our Thanksgiving spirit as we give to others," said Ferrell in retrospect of the event.
While 8th Comm. Bn. chanted cadence at a double-time march, the Marines and sailors of Headquarters and Service Battalion, 2d Force Service Support Group, put their packs on their backs for a conditioning hike. Three hundred Marines and sailors were on hand for the seven-mile venture. Each service member had a total of 40-pounds of food they hiked to the halfway point. There, two vehicles were on hand to pick up the 12,000 pounds of food.
Sergeant Bradley W. Dunn, a supply liaison with Headquarters Company, was the noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the working party that gathered and sorted the food. Dunn said he was glad to see first hand the amount of food his fellow Marines gathered.
"I know there will be some very thankful H&S Bn. Marines this year when they get their food packages," he said.
Similar to 8th Comm. Bn., the food collected was for battalion service members struggling to make ends meet this year.