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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

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.


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Colonel James W. Lively
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Colonel Lively is a native of Dallas, Texas. He received his commission in 1996 through the Platoon Leaders Course program after graduating from Texas A&M University with a BA in Psychology.

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11th Marine Expeditionary Unit