CAMP LEMONIER, Djibouti -- Battalion Landing Team 1/1's Bravo Company Marines made feathers fly during the Thanksgiving Day Commander's Cup competition and secured victory before enjoying a traditional Thanksgiving spread at the Bob Hope Memorial Chow Hall here November 27.
Bravo Company signed up to represent the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) against eight other teams of Camp Lemonier personnel in eight events that included a 4-man-team 5K run, 3-man basketball tournament that required the combined age of the participants be equal to 79 years old, a 5-man humvee pull, 5-man-team volleyball tournament, 5-man-team push-up contest, horseshoes and a 10-man-team tug of war.
The Better Opportunities for Single Service members Committee put together the eight-event competition that lasted throughout the day Thanksgiving for Camp Lemonier personnel. Each group who participated in the competition had to enter at least five of the first seven events and all groups had to participate in the tug of war, according to Marine Sgt. Lisa Thompson, BOSS Committee member and event coordinator for the competition.
"Each platoon picked their best players for each event, and then we put together teams from there," said SSgt. Randall Reyes, machinegun section leader, Weapons Platoon, Bravo Co., and team captain for the MEU team.
The MEU group began strong, placing first at the 5K-team run that started the Thanksgiving Day competition at 5:45 in the morning. Bravo Marines participated in all eight events throughout the day.
"The humvee pull was the most difficult event for us," said Reyes.
The basketball team dominated in the 3-man-team tournament with Gunnery Sergeant John Calhoon as the "old man" who participated to secure the 79-year-composite age requirement, and the MEU team was pretty certain they had the points to win once the tug of war was completed, according to Reyes.
Participating in the competition was just another good way to bring the Marines together on the holiday, said LCpl. Henry A. Palacios, a machinegunner with Wpns. Plt., B Co., BLT 1/1, who spent his first Thanksgiving away from home here.
"It was a chance for the guys to hang out and do something fun besides work on Thanksgiving, and it was another chance for us to show off our physical fitness," said Palacios who participated in the push-up contest, racking up 156 push ups in the 10-minute time limit.
Brigadier General Mastin Robeson awarded the Commander's Cup to the MEU during an awards ceremony held at the Cantina in the evening.
"It was cool to win," said Palacios, a Pomona, Calif.-native. "I could have been anywhere for Thanksgiving, especially since we just came from Iraq. I didn't expect to be here doing something fun like this, so it was good to go."
13th MEU Marines ashore in Djibouti will conduct training through December and return to their ships to continue their scheduled deployment, currently expected to return to Camp Pendleton in late spring 2004.
For additional information about the 13th MEU (SOC), view the official website at www.13meu.usmc.mil.