Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Laguna Hills representatives learn Marine culture
Group from Laguna Hills, which has adopted a Marine unit, takes Camp Pendleton tour.
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CAMP PENDLETON - Laguna Hills residents, city leaders, and other supporters of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines took part in an informal tour at Camp Pendleton Tuesday to better understand the every day routine of a Marine.

The tour of the San Mateo sector spanned from the structure of the command post to the living arrangements at the barracks. With cameras in hand, for some, it was their first visit to Camp Pendleton.

"It's great to see the structure of how things are set up…the history behind it," said Marta Alford with the Patriots Federal Credit Union of Aliso Viejo.

Last August, the city became a parent city to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division based in Camp Pendleton. With adoption of the infantry battalion, a committee was formed to garner community support and recruit corporate sponsors to fund events for the battalion.

The battalion is currently in Iraq.

S. Sgt. Jason Ruyle, who works with Marines who were not deployed, led the tour. Throughout the tour, attendees learned such details as what an OOD is — Officer of the Day — and what his/her duties are. They learned about classes Marines can take to help them transition from the Marine Corps life to civilian life and learned some history of the battalion.

About 12 attended the tour including donors, committee members and City Council members.

Tim Sloat of Laguna Beach matched the 3/5 with the city. He started this work four years ago and has since helped Cerritos, Rancho Santa Margarita, Irvine, San Juan Capistrano and other cities adopt battalions.

"Most people have no idea what goes on there," Sloat said. "It's (the tour) very good in terms of strengthening the ties between the communities and Marine units, and it's educational."

For Laguna Hills resident Lana Simning, who has donated to the committee and whose son is a Marine stationed in Virginia, the tour helped her understand what goes on at the base.

"There's a possibility one day my son might be stationed here," she said.

Debra Allen, committee member, said the tour was set up to raise awareness.

"I hope that they'll get a better understanding of what life is like for the Marines," Allen said.

Contact the writer: amolina@ocregister.com or 949-454-7360