Cosplayers, crafts of cosmic caliber, and copious cameras are common occasion at Comic-Con. Meritable Marines meting out many moments to make this marvel measurably more magnificent are not.
Marines from Marine Corps Air Station Yuma traveled to the San Diego International Comic Convention through the Single Marine Program, July 11 â€“ 15. These Marines volunteered their time to make Comic-Con a better experience for all.
â€œ(The organizers) always rave about the work Marines do for Comic-Con,â€ said Lucia Uribe, the special events coordinator for SMP and a native of Long Beach, Calif. â€œEvery section the Marines volunteer for is exceptionally organized. Other volunteers took notes on the way we worked and tried to emulate us. Imitation is the biggest form of flattery.â€
â€œThe Marines are more helpful than everyone else whoâ€™s volunteering,â€ Carlie Pettijon, a Comic-Con staff member and volunteer organizer. â€œIt helps that Marines are more imposing and can help keep order, and they listen and accomplish tasks far better than the average volunteer.â€
One group of Marines came to the convention before it began and helped set up the event, and the other came during the festivities to help the Comic-Con run smoother. All together, more than 40 Marines came out to help.
For their work the Marines received free passes, which would normally cost hundreds of dollars, to enjoy the convention once their volunteer shifts were done.
Comic-Con is the largest and most acclaimed convention of its type in the word; in 2010, it filled the San Diego Convention Center with more than 130,000 people. The convention hosts large and small-name video game, movie, comic, trading card, television and Internet entertainment producers. If it could be considered nerdy, itâ€™s here in abundance.
â€œItâ€™s important to get Marines out to events like this,â€ said Cpl. Anthony Vanasco, a Marine Attack Squadron 513 avionics technician and a native of New Castle, Penn. â€œEveryone has a bad taste in their mouths from some things that have happened, but when they see us out here they really appreciate it. We need to be out with the community more often, showing that we can do good.â€
â€œPeople recognize us as Marines, and it looks good on the Corps when weâ€™re out here volunteering,â€ added Cpl. Brandon Maki, a Marine Attack Squadron 211 avionics technician and a native of Duluth, Minn.
The trip is not just for public image, however. This was also a great opportunity for Marines to unwind and get out of Yuma for a weekend.
â€œItâ€™s a recreational opportunity thatâ€™s getting (the Marines) out of the barracks and into a fun environment where they are meeting new people,â€ stated Uribe. â€œItâ€™s neat to see Marines meet, become friends and begin doing things together outside of SMP.â€
The SMP in Yuma works to get Marines out to Comic-Con every year. In addition, trips to Las Vegas, Big Bear, Flagstaff, a theme park like Six Flags, concerts and Lake Havasu occur every year. Also, numerous smaller opportunities for activities in Yuma take place every week and are open to Marines stationed or visiting MCAS Yuma.