Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Calif. --
The Marines of Company L left the their mini-grinders and uniform maintenance to enjoy the San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Dodgers game at Petco Park, May 16.
“San Diego has traditionally been a military town and probably wouldn’t be what it is today without the large Navy and Marine Corps presence we have had here,” said Jack Ensch, director of military marketing for the Padres. “We like to show our appreciation towards the service of our servicemen and women by doing things like this and offering discounts throughout the year.”
Besides simply attending, drill instructors and honor men took to the player positions prior to the game and got to meet the Padres as they took the field.
This was followed closely by the first pitch which was thrown by World War II veteran and former Army infantryman Orlow “Buzz” Garrett who has been awarded two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts.
Although the new Marines had an afternoon free of drill, Marine Corps History or learning battle skills during the game, Staff Sgt. John J. Binder, senior drill instructor, Platoon 3253, said they were still learning a valuable lesson.
“The new Marines learn that boot camp isn’t how the rest of their time in the Marine Corps will be,” Binder said. “These Marines are seeing the respect Americans have for their armed services and the Marine Corps in particular and are also seeing the result of the high standards we have been teaching them since they arrived on the yellow footprints.”
The new Marines may have been inadvertently learning through their experiences at the game, but learning lessons was not the only mission objective behind their attendance.
“All of that stuff aside, it’s kind of just a lucky treat for them to come out, enjoy some good ol’ baseball,” said Binder.
This is especially true for Pvt. Robert L. Hart, a Chula Vista, Calif., native.
“I am from Chula Vista, so coming out here is kind of like being home again; it’s nice,” said Hart. “Even though I am not a huge baseball fan.”
Though Hart said he is enjoying the chance to relax in a place close to home, there was something to be gained of more value than the lessons or the homey feel.
“More importantly, I get to hang out with all my new brothers and actually have fun,” Hart said. “We have all bonded over the last 12 weeks and been through a lot. I am just glad we got a chance to come out here and do something like this together rather than field day together.
For more information on the San Diego Padres and game-day events, visit www.padres.mlb.com.