ABOARD USS IWO JIMA -- Marines and Sailors of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron-264 (Rein), 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), received care packages today from their adopted students, faculty, family and friends of the Richboro Middle & Elementary Schools in Richboro, Penn.
One by one, HMM-264 (Rein) Marines and Sailors stopped by the distribution point located in the ship's hangar bay to pick up their packages. "I think it's great these kids care enough to put this kind of time into making packages for us," said Cpl. Marcus V. Sanders with HMM-264 (Rein) maintenance control. "It is very impressive they are showing such an interest in what we are doing for our country," said the Jackson, Miss. native.
This project, dubbed "Operation Richboro Reach-Out," began early last year with the deployment of HMM-263 (Rein) with the 24th MEU (SOC). When the 24th MEU (SOC) began wrapping up their deployment, the operation turned its focus to the "Black Knights" of HMM-264 (Rein).
Andrea Mangold, the coordinator of "Operation Richboro Reach-Out", has helped in the organization of letters, drawings and packages throughout the entire operation. She said the students main focus was to make the troops feel like they were receiving a 'piece of home.' Large Ziploc bags were filled with Life Savers, toiletries, individually wrapped snack items, wet wipes and lots of other essential items for the field and, of course, one personal letter from a student per bag.
Capt. Larry A. Bailey, the family readiness officer and Marine coordinator for "Operation Richboro Reach Out," said they have received two shipments so far. "This is great! There is at least one care package for each Marine and Sailor in the squadron." They have hundreds of these packages stored on ship for distribution, he said. "A lot of effort by a large number of folks went into getting these care packages put together and sent out to us. We appreciate it," Bailey said.
To follow the Marines and HMM-264 (Rein.) and the rest of the 26th MEU (SOC), visit them on the web at www.26meu.usmc.mil.