MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. -- Marines from four West Coast duty stations descended on Las Vegas Friday through Sunday, making the most of a relatively inexpensive opportunity to immerse themselves in neon-soaked fun.
Members from four of the six West Coast Coalition of Single Marine Programs from Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, and MCAS Miramar stayed at the Bourbon Street Hotel and Casino, just off "The Strip" of Las Vegas Boulevard and the unlimited source of entertainment and attractions.
As the Marines wandered the streets of "Sin City," they were frequently welcomed with open arms by many of the city's patrons and guests, who often ad libbed support for the military, offering complimentary show tickets or free drinks, for example.
Two single Marines took the opportunity to change that status by tying the knot in one of the infamous Vegas chapels. Lance Cpl. Brandi Grubbs-Martin, station supply administration, stood at the altar with Lance Cpl. Joe Martin, stationed at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif.
"I thought since the SMP Vegas trip was coming up then we would just do it there," Grubbs-Martin said. "Vegas is so neat, with the lights and shows, and just being there with someone you care for makes it a very special place."
The Bourbon Street Hotel and Casino had two shows offered at discount rates for the Marines. "Hypnolarious," a hypnotist show featuring Deogee the Hypnopup, provided comedic entertainment. "Shock" was a freak show of sorts that featured another hypnotist who had an audience member mesmerized so he wouldn't be freaked out by the cage of rats placed over his head and Zamora, the King of Pain, who apparently enjoyed his profession as a human pincushion.
Marines participated in some of the legal gambling activities the casinos offered, including slot machines and video poker, table card games, and horse racing wagering. Despite the plethora of chances to spend money, though, most of the Marines reported coming back perhaps a little lighter in the pockets but better off for the experience of getting the chance to see something outside Yuma at a bargain cost. The room and transportation cost the Marines just $50 each for three days and two nights of recreation.
The Single Marine Program will offer more trips this summer, such as journeys to Del Mar beach in California and the Grand Canyon, and other events are being planned.