Jacksonville, Fla. --
Two members of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit took advantage of a unique opportunity to represent the Marine Air-Ground Task Force in Jacksonville, Fla., during the Navy-Marine Corps Classic basketball game Nov. 9, 2012.
Maj. Zane Crawford, air officer, and Master Sgt. Patrick Buttry, headquarters commandant, both with the 22nd MEU, coordinated with several Navy and Marine Corps units, including 2nd Marine Regiment, Blount Island Command and Naval Station Mayport, Fla., to present static displays before the game for local residents and visiting fans.
“The Marines were engaged with the crowd during the static display,” said Crawford, a Spring, Texas, native. “It gave the public an opportunity to see some of the things we do and interact with us.”
Marines and sailors set up a display of vehicles and weapons and also answered questions from the community about life as part of the Navy-Marine Corps team.
Marines, sailors and attendees got to enjoy a concert from Little Big Town before the big game between the Florida Gators and Georgetown Hoyas aboard the USS Bataan. Buttry, a Carmi, Ill., native, said working with the Bataan staff for this event will prove useful when the MEU and Bataan Amphibious Ready Group begin predeployment training in 2013.
“Building that relationship with the leadership will pay off during our work-ups and our deployment,” said Buttry.
Even though the game was canceled at halftime due to condensation on the court, the interaction between the community and Navy-Marine Corps team left a positive impression.
“A lot of people were impressed with the weapons systems and vehicle static displays,” said Buttry. “I think events like this are beneficial for Marines because they can see how much they are appreciated.”