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Marine Parents hold annual conference, visit Pendleton

An organization of caring parents visited Camp Pendleton, April 17, as part of a three-day conference.


By Cpl. Daniel Lutz,
Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

Marine Parents held their fifth annual National Marine Parents Conference in San Diego, April 17 through 19. The conference consisted of a guided Camp Pendleton tour, as well as several guest speakers at the Crown Plaza hotel in San Diego.

The tour aboard Camp Pendleton began with a demonstration of military working dogs. Tim P. Conway and Lance Cpl. Lee G. Bartholomew, dog handlers with Security Battalion, Marine Corps Base, showed the group the discipline and high level of training instilled in the four-legged Marines.

Following the demonstration, the tour stopped at the 13 Area Mess Hall to break bread and share conversation with Marines stationed on base.

The parents had the opportunity to purchase Marine Corps souvenirs from the 22 Area Military Clothing Sales after lunch. Their next stop on the tour was to the School of Infantry-West to learn about essential training all Marines must go through.

While at SOI, the group spoke with several Marines about the different aspects involved in Marine Combat and Advanced Infantry Training.

The forum portion of the conference began Saturday, April 18 with sessions on Mojave Viper training, post traumatic stress disorder and deployments.

Saturday’s events concluded with a colors presentation ceremony and a proclamation from San Diego Mayor, Jerry Sanders, declaring April 18 as Marine Parents’ Day in the city.

Former Marine Capt. Dale A. Dye, film consultant, was the keynote speaker at the conference.

“Over the years that I've been a Marine - in and out of uniform - I've always felt outfits like Marine Parents represent a very important legacy that we can't ignore and need to support,” Dye said. “These support organizations are an extension of our most basic concepts including dedication, honor and loyalty. They reinforce what we learn in boot camp: Every Marine is a brother or sister for life. That's the true meaning of Semper Fidelis.”

Also in attendance was former Marine Lt. Col. Jay Kopelman, author, “From Baghdad with Love,” who participated in a panel discussion on PTSD and an open forum question and answer session.

The conference wrapped up Sunday with former Marine Cpl. Aaron P. Mankin, combat correspondent, who was medically retired in October 2008, speaking to the group about the perspective of a wounded service member and the importance of the extension of the Marine Corps family. Mankin was severely wounded in May 2005 while on deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

For more information about Marine Parents, visit their Web site at www.marineparents.com