MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. --
Thanks to a first-time joint effort between station personnel and the local community, four deployed Marine Attack Squadron 311 Marines watched their children’s high school graduations via a live Web broadcast May 28, 2010.
At sea in the Pacific Ocean with the 31st and 15th Marine Expeditionary Units, the Marines were still able to be a part of a momentous occasion in their children’s lives.
“I still wish my dad could’ve seen it in person,” said Andrew Gough, son of VMA-311 commanding officer Lt. Col. Michael Gough and the Gila Ridge High School co-valedictorian. “But knowing he was watching it aboard ship was the next best thing.”
With camera crews at Gila Ridge High School, Kofa High School and Yuma Catholic High School, the ceremonies were broadcast on three Web sites, including one made specifically for the Tomcats.
“We’re treading new water,” said Elena McShane, station school liaison. “We know there are other schools in the country that are doing this, so why can’t Yuma?”
Karen Trimble, VMA-311 family readiness officer, approached McShane with the broadcast idea in February.
“It touched my heart that Marines were having a child graduate and they were going to miss it,” Trimble said.
Their proposal eventually reached the Yuma Educational Technology Consortium, which put them in touch with the communications groups.
Marine Aircraft Group 13 communications Marines collaborated with Arizona Western College and local communications groups to make the broadcast happen.
“These people are doing it out of the goodness of their hearts,” said McShane. “They want to serve the military families, but in turn they’re serving the community.”
The broadcast benefited not only deployed Marines, but anyone else who was unable to attend.
“It was a community effort,” said Trimble. “It took the Marine Corps and the community to make it happen.”
With the success of the broadcast, McShane said she hopes they can cover future events for Marines on deployment.
“The entire family knew that I would be watching, so in a sense, I was in the crowd with them, just via the Internet,” said Lt. Col. Gough. “As a father, it was tremendously rewarding. As a Marine, I’m thankful several other families got to watch their children graduate as well. Since we all deploy so frequently, it’s great to see technology and outreach programs help us stay connected back home with important events like high school graduations.”