BLT 1/8 (Rein) recognizes family values at picnic

13 Jun 2002 | Sgt. Roman Yurek

Calm seas usually exist before a storm and Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment (Reinforced), took advantage of this tranquil time before the fast-paced work-up exercises begin to recognize the battalion's family members who are now a part of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit.Marines and their families came together June 10 at the BLT 1/8 command area for a Family Day Picnic to celebrate the 26th MEU stand up.Soon, these sons, fathers and husbands will begin a seemingly endless array of training evolutions prior to a six-month deployment."This is the first time that the entire BLT has come together and met outside of work," said Capt. Joseph Moffatt, the BLT family readiness officer.However, this picnic was not a plethora of red and white plaid blankets laid out over a grassy hillside. Actually, there were no blankets on the ground at all, instead, the BLT set up static displays, a dunk tank and games for a field meet.Though many of the children attempted to find the face-painting clown, their eyes always seemed distracted by the mountain of steel in the form of an Amphibious Assault Vehicle and the awe-inspiring size of the M198 155mm Howitzer.Lance Cpl. Kevin Dreggors, a rifleman with Alpha Company, BLT 1/8, took his children to see the static displays first."These are good," said Dreggors. "All that my kids know is that daddy disappears all the time and they don't know why, but now they have a little better understanding why daddy disappears."Welcoming all the reinforcements to the BLT was Lt. Col. David Hough, BLT 1/8 commanding officer.In addition to welcoming the Marines to his command, he also extended his welcome to the families and stressed the importance of spousal involvement in the Key Volunteer Program."Key Volunteer Programs supported by the command can really become a force multiplier," said Hough.Another program that was stressed by the KV coordinator, Jennifer Hough, was the Lifestyle Insights, Networking, Knowledge and Skills, or LINKS, as it is better known. The unit will be holding a BLT-wide LINKS day June 21.As spouses signed up for the LINKS day and the KV program, their husbands met with friends or were dragged by their children from one side of the field to the other.Once the day began coming to an end, the Marines and their families both realized they must put their game faces on for the hurricane of training exercises, downpour of courses and nights apart that lay ahead in the coming months.