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Jewish, Roman Catholic and Prostetant holiday services were held for 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit Marines and Sailors during pre-deployment training aboard Fort Pickett, Va., during the Easter weekend. The 26th MEU will conclude its training at Fort Pickett April 7.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Santiago G. Colon Jr.

Easter at Fort Pickett: a chance for spiritual training

4 Apr 2010 | Lance Cpl. Santiago Colon, Jr.

Marines and sailors of 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit have been training for deployment at Fort Pickett, Va., since March 22. And as the Easter holiday approached, the MEU religious services personnel have offered multiple observances to accommodate servicemembers of various faiths.

A packed and arduous schedule at this first unit-wide exercise for the MEU kept the Marines and Sailors mentally and physically exhausted. Despite the busy training schedule, or perhaps because of it, the MEU’s chaplains said they felt the necessity for services during the Jewish, Roman Catholic and Protestant holidays and have worked to accommodate several denominations.

“The 26th MEU is blessed to have a wide variety of religious make-up,” said Navy Lt. Jason M. DiPinto, chaplain for Battalion Landing Team 3/8. “We have Catholic and Protestant personnel. We also have Jewish servicemembers."

MEU chaplains arranged transportation to Temple Beth-El in Richmond, Va., for Jewish Marines and Sailors to participate in Seder in celebration of the Passover. They also held Good Friday services for Protestants and Roman Catholics at the Fort Pickett Chapel, and sunrise Easter services were also held there.

“As chaplains, we do everything we can to support all of the different religious backgrounds so they can worship in the way they need to worship to celebrate their faiths,” DiPinto said.

26th MEU can be followed on its Web site, http://www.marines.mil/unit/26thmeu/Pages/welcome.aspx