A large gathering of Yuma Navy League members gathered at the Emerald Springs Resort to honor the Marine Aircraft Group 13 Marine and noncommissioned officer in charge of the Quarter from Marine Corps Air Base, Yuma.
Lance Cpl. Juan de la Cruz, a Marine Attack Squadron 214 ordnance technician and a native of Mission, Texas, and Cpl. Brandon Brown, a Marine Aircraft Group 13 warehouse chief and a native of Meridian, Conn., were thanked by a grateful community for their service by Yuma Councilâ€™s President, Nancy Ramsey, and presented with framed copies of the American Creed.
The meetingâ€™s principle speaker, Lt. Col. Guy Berry, a pilot with VMA-311, provided an excellent overview of the Marine Corpsâ€™ post-Afghanistan transition from a land-based army back to their traditional sea-based expeditionary role. The council was also honored with a brief presentation of Navy League Southwestern Region activities by its President, Mrs. Lisa Gallinat, including the scheduled May 2012 commissioning of the Navyâ€™s newest amphibious transport dock ship, the USS San Diego.
The League also supported Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 3, based in Twentynine Palms, Calif., during their time in Yuma.Â Responsible for operating the Marine Corps unmanned remote controlled aviation assets (UAVs), the Marines of VMU-3â€™s WTI Detachment set up their gear, endured Yumaâ€™s high winds and dust, ate their dehydrated rations, and in typical Marine Corps fashion, provided video, communication and data needs to their supported units 24/7.
In a show of support for their service, two families in the north foothills opened their homes to these servicemen.Â Coordinated by Dean and Gloria Hager of the Yuma Navy League, 30+ Marines Corps enlisted and officers were provided a place to take a hot shower, launder their uniforms, and sample many pounds of good Yuma carne asada.
At the end of the second Saturday, the detachment staff noncommissioned officer in charge, Gunnery Sgt. Juan Varra, and officer in charge, Lt. Col. John Thurman, offered their gratitude to the Navy league and presented both families with VMU-3 challenge coins for their unselfish act.Â A Special thanks to retired deputy sheriff (and former Marine) David Champagne and his wife Sherri for their enthusiastic support of this event.