CENTRAL COMMAND AREA OF OPERATIONS -- For sea-going Marines and Sailors, the words 'hump day' have a special connotation. They signify that half of their journey is over and they are now on the downward slide of their deployment.
The 22d Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), currently embarked aboard the USS Wasp, Oak Hill, and Trenton, recently hosted a number of hump day activities to celebrate reaching the halfway point of their stint as the landing force for the U.S. Fifth and Sixth Fleets. The MEU left North Carolina in late February with the expectations of undertaking a six-month deployment.
"Hump day helps the morale of the Marines and Sailors a lot," said Cpl. Michael C. Constant, a computer specialist with the MEU's Command Element. "It is one of the few things we get to do that is fun and out of the normal work day routine."
Aboard the Wasp, one of the most noticeable indicators that this day was unlike most others was the apparel of the Marines and Sailors prowling the ship's passageways, or P-ways. Instead of Navy dungarees and tri-color camouflage utilities, civilian clothes for non-duty personnel were the uniform of the day, a rare luxury not seen by many since the MEU's only port visit 11 weeks earlier in Souda Bay, Crete.
The day's activities centered around a number a Morale, Welfare and Recreation-sponsored events such as skeet shooting, a three-on-three basketball tournament, a golf chipping contest, tug-of-war, card and board games, and various other activities. Proceeds from the events' nominal entry fees were awarded to the winners.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Andrew J. Duprey is the MEU's religious programmer and serves as assistant to the MEU Chaplain. He said the hump day activities gave the MEU and the ships' crews a well-deserved break.
"I think it really helped morale," said Duprey, a Plattsburgh, New York native. "Anytime we do anything out of the ordinary it changes our routine, which is good. This way we don't become complacent."
Constant agrees with Duprey about the benefits of hump day.
"It helps break up the monotony of floating for six months and gives the Marines and Sailors a chance to interact on a social level and look positively on the next three months."
For more information on the 22d MEU (SOC), visit the unit's website at www.22meu.usmc.mil.
NOTE: The MEU's celebration of its hump day is based on its scheduled deployment of six months from its February departure. However, unforeseen operational necessities may arise that delay the MEU's return.