Photo Information

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – A child plays with a Christmas toy during a 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit Christmas celebration here Dec. 14. Children also made Christmas cards and received gifts and sweets, but had to be careful because the Grinch was right around the corner waiting for the right opportunity to steal anything that he could get his hands on.

Photo by Saddleback PICS

11th MEU throws early Christmas bash

17 Dec 2012 | Lance Cpl. Demetrius Morgan 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit

In the nearly six months since returning from deployment, the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit has maintained a vigorous training cycle to maintain its status as a rapid response force. From ranges, to hikes, to annual qualifications, the 11th MEU has participated in a variety of events to ensure readiness among both new and seasoned Marines.

In spite of this vigorous schedule, the Marines and sailors of the 11th MEU found time to celebrate Christmas by gathering at the Marine Corps Family Team Building facility here Dec. 14.
Making this celebration possible took the hard work of Kyp Hughes, the 11th MEU family readiness officer, and other volunteers.

“It took a lot of planning and running around,” said Hughes. “I’d also like to thank the gentlemen who helped me set this up.”

During the celebration, kids of all ages played with Christmas toys, and made Christmas cards for their families. Children also received gifts and sweets, but had to be careful because the Grinch was right around the corner waiting for the right opportunity to steal anything that he could get his hands on.

The main children’s attraction was Santa Claus, who bore a striking resemblance to Capt. Philipp Buckhahn, the assistant air officer with the 11th MEU. The children were overwhelmed with excitement when they saw Santa Claus. One by one the children went up to Santa Claus, where he gave them treats, listened to what they wanted for Christmas, and posed for photos.

Marines like Cpl. Keenan Nash, a ground radio repairer with the 11th MEU, appreciated the celebration.

“It’s cool to have a moment where the unit is together and I’m not thinking about work,” said Nash, a 21-year-old, Dallas native. “I see other units do things like this all the time so it’s nice to experience this.”

The Christmas bash ended after a night full of joy and glee. The Marines, sailors and their families were given a reason to believe why Christmas is the best time of the year.

Marine Corps News

Colonel Thomas M. Siverts
Commanding Officer

Colonel Tom Siverts is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in August 1989. He achieved a commission as a Second Lieutenant through the Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Education Program following his graduation from the University of Virginia in May 1999. Colonel Siverts has deployed in support of Operations DESERT SHIELD, DESERT STORM, IRAQI FREEDOM, and ENDURING FREEDOM. His other operational deployments include serving with Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 2/8, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU); BLT 3/8, 22d MEU; BLT 2/8, 26th MEU, and Task Force 61/2.

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Lieutenant Col. Steven M. Sprigg
Executive Officer

LtCol Sprigg was born in Parkersburg, WV. LtCol Sprigg enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in September 2004 and recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC. LtCol Sprigg was selected for the Enlisted Commissioning Program and commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in March 2008. He was designated a Naval Aviator in February 2011 and reported to HMLAT-303 for training as an AH-1W pilot. LtCol Sprigg is currently serving as the Executive Officer for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Camp Pendleton, California.

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Sergeant Major Travis L. DeBarr
Sergeant Major

Sergeant Major DeBarr enlisted in the Marine Corps and reported to MCRD San Diego, CA, for recruit training in October 1994.Staff Sergeant DeBarr completed two combat tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from September 2005 to April 2006 and again form March 2007 to September 2007. While serving with 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, First Sergeant DeBarr completed one combat deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, from October 2012 to May 2013. Sergeant Major DeBarr currently serves as the Sergeant Major for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

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