Photo Information

An overenthusiastic jump on the inflatable bouncer nets 3-year-old Hayden Smith at Marine Attack Squadron-214's family picnic at Britain's Farm Chuckwagon and Steakhouse Friday. His father, Maj. Samuel Smith, a native of Princeton, N.J., is the aviation maintenance officer for VMA-214.

Photo by Sgt. David A. Bryant

VMA-214 Marines take some time to relax after hard work and deployments

5 May 2005 | Sgt. David A. Bryant Marine Corps Air Station Yuma

Everyone needs a little "down time" to relax after a long period of hard work, and for Marine Attack Squadron-214, that time was Friday at a family picnic at Britain's Farm Chuckwagon and Steakhouse.

The entire squadron gathered together to enjoy some of that down time as a unit for the first time in more than a year after multiple deployments to Iraq and a stint as the sole Harrier support squadron for Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course 2-05, said Capt. Michael P. Murphy, schedule writer and unit information officer, VMA-214.

"It's just a family appreciation day. It gives the kids something to do and lets the Marines have a chance to hang out and relax," said the Valparaiso, Ind., native. "It's just a way for everyone to have fun after working so hard."

Besides Texas-style barbecue beef, potato salad and all the fixings, the Marines had a chance to play every sport from football to horseshoes at the event, and an inflatable bouncer and train ride was offered for the children. The event brought out such notables as Mayor Larry Nelson of Yuma and Col. James J. Cooney, station commanding officer.

"This is the first time we've been back fully as a squadron since I took over in April of last year," said Lt. Col. Mark Everman, of Philadelphia, Pa., commanding officer, VMA-214. "So it's also the first chance we've had to do something for the families and Marines. It looks like the Marines are having a good time, and that's what it's all about. These guys deserve it."

The event also had an unexpected benefit – Britain’s Farm donated all proceeds made from hosting the party to the local Boy Scouts of America. While not a part of the actual event for VMA-214, donating the proceeds allowed Nelson and Roy Tyler, the owner of Britain's Farm, to offer their sincere appreciation of what the Marine Corps, and VMA-214 in particular, are doing to protect the freedom of the American people.

"We'd like to thank Britain's Farm for their generosity in letting us hold our event here," said Murphy. "We've had a wonderful time here."

VMA-214's next deployment is scheduled for December.

Marine Corps Air Station Yuma