Marines unwind in city that never sleeps

14 Jul 2000 | Cpl. Michael Montgomery

The Marines and Sailors of Special Marine Air Ground Task Force 10 recently had a chance to show their equipment and skills in New York City for International Naval Review 2000.

However, it wasn't all work.

New Yorkers opened their arms and streets for a chance to show their appreciation for America's hard working military.

"We went out to the clubs and had a good time. The nightlife is exciting here and the people of New York were very friendly," said Lance Cpl. Adam Womble of Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 2d Marine Regiment and a Raleigh, N.C., native.

Womble also got a taste of the spotlight by hitting one of the more popular stops in Times Square.

"About eight guys and me went up to MTV and they picked us to be on Total Request Live. I only said about a sentence but it was fun," Womble explained.

During the evenings, the city was filled with servicemembers eager to soak up as many sights as they could while they were on liberty.

"While in New York, we went sight seeing and went to the top of the Empire State Building. We went all over Times Square and went to Harlem to see one of the Marine's Family," said Cpl. John Terry of Garden City, Kan., and an administrative clerk with Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Bn., 2nd Marine Regiment.

Some Marines were not quite ready for the Big Apple. However, many found there was a lot of fun to be had, according to Lance Cpl. Darrell Thompson, a cook with Training Support Bn., 2d Force Service Support Group, who grew up in Waukegan, Ill.

"I'm from a small town," Thompson said. "So when I came here, I wasn't used to all the noise and people. I walked around for a little while with a headache, but once I got used to it, it was excellent," said.

Despite the throbbing head, Thompson said the best part of the city was the people who live and work here.

"If I didn't know where something was at, I could walk up to somebody and ask them, and they would tell me to go down here and turn there. When I would go into a store, they would say, 'This is on me, don't worry about it,'" he explained. "They just all around appreciated us."

Thompson was not alone in his appreciation for the residents of the 'City that Never Sleeps. Sgt. Todd Harrison of North Canton, Ohio, and is with Bravo Company, Light Armored Reconnaissance Bn., also noticed the special attention.

"I didn't want to have high expectations, but they turned out to be too low. They all wanted to know what we do and who we are," Harrison said. "Sometimes you don't realize how important you are until you come to a place where there is no military, and they embrace you; shouting 'thank you's' out their windows."

Whether Marines went to Time Square or Greenwich Village, few Marines left without feeling appreciated or glad at the chance to be in the city. And according to Capt. James P. Farrelly of Roanoke, Va., and the commander of troops aboard the USS Nassau, he's never had a liberty experience like this.

"This is the best liberty port I've had in 19-years," Farrelly exclaimed.