JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. - More than 250 Soldiers, family members and pets met the rising sun Oct. 29 dressed in costumes for the 593rd Special Troops Battalion Halloween costume run.

In the pre-dawn hours, music blared from the steps of the 593rd Sustainment Brigade headquarters, getting the battalion pumped up for the fun run. The crowd erupted into cheers when "Michael Jackson" appeared before the formation just as the opening chords for Thriller filled the air.

Michael Jackson, a.k.a. Pfc. Matthew Smiley, showed off his dance moves with moon walking reminiscent of the King of Pop.

Before long, the battalion was stretched out and ready to go.

The route was short and the pace was steady - just like a jog around the block.

Laughter was in no short supply and other units running by were equally gleeful at seeing the Gladiators in their Halloween dress.

One of the kids out in costume, Mackayla Wixom, was excited about the run because she would get to run with her mom for the first time and dress up before Halloween.

Spc. Shanna Bare, Mackayla's mom, was proud of her daughter for making it the whole way.

"HHC is great," Bare said. "This is my first unit and they're pretty good about the family and try to do as many family organization days as they can, which is good."

Bare echoed her commander's sentiment.

"We have to concentrate on families and Soldiers and they're well being in order to maintain morale," said Lt. Col. Doug LeVien, Commander of the 593rd Special Troops Battalion. "We have (close to 100) Soldiers deployed right now and many of us are deploying to Afghanistan soon so this is part of reset - this is part of having fun."

LeVien, dressed as a gladiator since he leads the Gladiator battalion, said that everyone who came out for the run had a ball.

"We're a family of families," LeVien said. "We had pets out here today - we had children and spouses out here today - we had some spouses that have their loved ones downrange. It's Halloween - a festive time of year, so this is all about stepping down and having a good time."

The Soldiers did have fun and apparently so did the pets.

"It was really fun getting everybody together like a team," said Spc. Caitlin Christesen, assigned to the 22nd Human Resources Company. "I think it's good that they get everybody out and active and they include all the families in activities."

Christesen, like several others, had her dog with her. Peyton, out for his first Halloween, was dressed like a bumblebee and according to Christesen liked running but didn't seem to like his costume much.

"Our battalion has the highest reenlistment rate here on Joint Base Lewis-McChord," LeVien said. "And how we do that is we take care of families and make sure Soldiers have fun."

The run was the first theme run for the Gladiators but LeVien says he hopes to do more in the future.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16