By Julia LeDoux, Pentagram Staff WriterJuly 8, 2013
JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. - Headquarters & Service Battalion, Headquarters Marine Corps, Henderson Hall Marines enjoyed a day of competitive sports - with just a little good natured trash talk thrown in for good measure - a barbecue lunch, and their Families in a pre-Fourth of July celebration June 28.
"Before these events start, everybody thinks they want to win, but as the day gets longer and it gets hot, we're going to see who really wants to win," said H & S Battalion Commanding Officer Col. Ira M. Cheatham before the field meet got underway on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall's CFT field. "I'm definitely going to be going around talking trash to you. If you get real mad at me, you'll have the opportunity to go to the dunk tank, and if you've got an arm better than a one-year old, maybe you can throw a ball and hit the dunk tank and put me in it. But while I'm sitting up there, I'm going to be saying a whole bunch of stuff about you, so be ready for that."
For a contribution, Marines and their family members could dunk Cheatham and other battalion leaders or throw a whipped cream pie at them. Money raised at those events will be used to help offset the cost of the Marine Corps ball.
Cheatham said that Marines "are competitive by nature. We like to talk trash, we like to have fun and this is the one good place to do it, at a field meet."
Cheatham said he and Battalion Sgt. Maj. Craig D. Cressman grew up participating in field meets.
"Before I leave, [Cheatham will relinquish command of the battalion on July 9] one gift sergeant major said he was going to give me was a field meet, so here it is," said Cheatham.
The field meet was comprised of 21 different events that tested the Marines' strength, agility and endurance. Among the events were a three-legged race, a tire flip and a pie-eating contest.
"The field meet went very well," Cressman told the participants following the more than two-hour competition. "I appreciate the competition and your competitive spirit."
Staff Sgt. Michael Moss, who was a member of the team that won the field meet, said the win meant one thing as he hoisted the first place trophy above his head: "Bragging rights all the way, baby."
Sgt. Mina Salama, who helped to organize the field meet along with Sgts. Ottheia Searcy, Adam Coffman, William Brown and Albert Felicio, said the tire flip was his favorite event.
"That's a show of brute force. Not only do you need the strength, but you need the muscular endurance and the speed to win that," he said.
Salama explained that the ultimate goal of the field meet was to have "camaraderie and competitive spirit come out, because Henderson Hall is mostly just sitting at a desk or driving a vehicle, so this is something different to get them back to that Marine Corps spirit."
Following the field meet, the action moved to the Henderson Hall portion of the joint base, where the Marines and their families enjoyed a free barbecue lunch, courtesy of Marine Corps Community Services.
"We put on a grand show before every holiday in the summer, pre-Memorial Day, pre-Independence Day, pre-Labor Day," explained MCCS Marketing Officer Doriann Geller. "Today is extra special because the [Marine] family members get to eat for free. It's our way of saying thank you to our Marines and Marine families for everything they do."
MCCS also recognized a group of youngsters who participated in L.I.N.K.S. 4 Kids (Living, Insight, Networking, Knowledge, Skills), a program that offers an orientation to the Marine Corps lifestyle by providing information on the Corps' history, traditions and benefits.
Among those who were recognized were Master Sgt. William Dixon's daughter, Daphne, 11.
"I'm having a good time with my dad," she said. "It's just really fun to watch him and see his job. It's really cool."
For the master sergeant, who is a single father, the day was about more than just getting to spend a bit of additional quality time with his beloved daughter.
"I believe, as a father, sometimes you have to have a split personality. As Marines, we know how to turn it off and turn it on," he said. "I know when I go home, I don't have a wife, but I have a beautiful daughter who uplifts me and enables me to come to work to do great things at work, to learn things to bring home to her and to show her what I do. It's not about me, but it's about what we do for this nation and she's a part of that."