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Afghanistan-bound battalion rewarded with break in training

MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER, TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. (March 16, 2008) -- After they claimed their stake, they ate some steak.

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March 16, 2008; Submitted on: 03/17/2008 05:43:43 PM ; Story ID#: 2008317174343
By Cpl. Ray Lewis, 1st Marine Division

Marines with, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment enjoyed a “Warrior’s Night” of food and fun following training here March 13.

The warriors had nearly finished Mojave Viper, the Corps’ premier pre-deployment desert training, so they were invited to feast on beef.

“It brings up morale,” said Staff Sgt. Enrique Lopez, the mess chief who arranged the meal for the Afghanistan-bound Marines. “In my opinion, morale is very important for these Marines because they’re always in the field. It’s good to give them something good when they come out of the field, something to eat and some beverages… there isn’t anything better than that.”

Well it’s better than Meals Ready-to-Eat.

“I’m starving, man,” said Cpl. Jason E. Brown. “It’s nice having a hot meal and a cold (drink). It’s a change of pace from MREs. It’s always nice.”

Brown, 21, thinks the best part is getting some food when straight out of the field and hanging out with the boys.

“Honestly, you look around and pretty much all of these guys are with us,” said Brown, a tow gunner from Springfield, Mo., with Weapons Company.

“If they have ‘crust-aches,’ they’ve been training with us,” Brown added.

After they ate their steak they played arcade games, watched TV or just caught up with the boys.

“It lets the boys unwind,” said Sgt. Kenneth S. Huse, 22, a tow gunner from Pendleton, Ind., with Weapons Co. “We need the training, but …it’s good to relax, straight up, that’s how it is good to relax.”

“The fact that I get to … take a shower, get fat and happy and go to sleep,” said Cpl. Jimmy E. Conley, 21, an assaultman from Spring, Texas, with Weapons Co.

Lopez was just glad to see that the Marines were enjoying themselves.

“It’s a good feeling … to notice the Marines are enjoying the chow,” said Lopez, 29, from Del Rio, Texas, with Headquarters and Support Co. “It motivates me to do it more and more. All the credit goes to my Marines because those are the ones doing all the work.”

When the Marines finish Mojave Viper, they will become the first battalion-sized Marine unit to support the Afghan National Police in Afghanistan.