SUPPORTING OUR OWN: NEWPORT BEACH FIRST BATTALION FIRST MARINES FOUNDATION

Did you know…

In 2003, the City of Newport Beach officially “adopted” the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines Combat Unit based at Camp Pendleton in order to assist the troops with emergency family needs, community programs and Unit social activities.

This mission continued with the formation of the Newport Beach 1st Battalion, 1st Marines Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, dedicated to continue the efforts started by the city. The foundation is an independent organization supporting the unit, and helps by bringing awareness of the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines to the Newport Beach community through social and fundraising events such as the Field of Honor, Toshiba Classic Military Appreciation Day, Marine Ball, Beach Challenge, and annual golf tournaments, liberty calls, and car washes.

“The Newport Beach 1st Battalion 1st Marines Foundation has had a very strong and enduring relationship with the City of Newport Beach and its residents,” says Paul Garcia, current president of the foundation. “This has been accomplished by the efforts of our advisory board and our focus on building strong relationships with our strategic partners, which consist of county-wide organizations that support our foundation.”

“As a United States Marine who served in combat with the 1st Battalion 1st Marines in Vietnam in 1967-1968, I am honored to serve as the current president of the Newport Beach 1st Battalion 1st Marines Foundation,” Garcia continues. “It is wonderful to see the pride, tradition and professionalism of the United States Marine Corps reflected in the men and women of the 1st Battalion 1st Marines.”

In addition to the City of Newport Beach, community partners with the Newport Beach 1st Battalion 1st Marines Foundation are many, and include the American Legion Newport Harbor Post 291, Connect a Vet, Emery Financial, Exchange Club of Newport Harbor, Hoag Charity Sports/Toshiba Classic, Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce, Newport Beach City Arts Commission, Newport Beach Fire Department, Newport Beach Junior Guards, Newport Beach Lifeguards, Newport Beach Police Department, Newport Beach Sunrise Rotary, Newport Beach Restaurant Association, Newport Harbor Republican Women, Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort & Marina, Open Hearts for Purple Hearts, Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals, Veterans First, Vet Net, Visit Newport Beach, and Working Wardrobes.

The 1st Marine Division was activated aboard the battleship USS Texas on Feb. 1, 1941. It is the oldest, largest and most decorated division in the United States Marine Corps. The division is comprised of Headquarters Battalion, 1st, 5th, 7th, and 11th Marine Regiments, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st and 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalions, 1st Tank Battalion, 1st and 3rd Combat Engineer Battalions and 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion. These units represent a combat-ready force of more than 22,000 U.S. Marines and Sailors.

An integral part of America’s premier force-in-readiness, the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines has historically been first to the fight whenever conflicts arise. The unit has played a major role in some of the most important military campaigns throughout our nation’s history. Their motto, “Ready to Fight,” not only reflects 1/1’s ability to respond to any crisis on short notice, but also its eagerness to support and defend the rights and freedoms of every American.

The 1st Battalion 1st Marines Foundation also acts as a conduit for the community to express their gratitude and appreciation to those who go forward to defend our country’s ideals and interests in a personal way. Support efforts go well beyond making any form of political statement, and the Marines know and appreciate it.

On a personal note, our family has had the pleasure of hosting anywhere from two-to-six 1/1 Marines from Camp Pendleton in our home over the years for various holidays, such as Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Frankly, I don’t know who gets more out of these visits, us or them. Many of these young men and women cannot afford to travel home for the holidays and are stuck on base celebrating best they can in the mess hall. That is, if they are not somewhere in offsite training or on a deployment in a foreign land far from home.

In my mind, nothing enables us to show our appreciation as much as offering our soldiers a good, home-cooked holiday meal and a warm welcome for all they sacrifice. Many have been deployed overseas numerous times, and, while some are not even of legal drinking age, they tell of their responsibilities handling heavy artillery or facing a hidden enemy with grace and dignity. I’ve kept in touch with some of them and one young man from Indiana, who is back to civilian life, sent me a note on Facebook recently to tell me that in his time in the service, the visit with us here in Newport Beach on that holiday meant more to him that I’ll ever know.

Our Marines will face many challenges and difficulties as they fight for our freedom now and long into the future. While their individual prospects remain uncertain, one thing they all know is that they can count on Newport Beach’s continued support, which helps them focus on their assigned combat missions, both at home and when deployed.

To volunteer or make a contribution to the 1st Battalion 1st Marines Foundation, please visit OneOneMarines.org.

Semper Fi!