MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. -- When Marines are deployed overseas, communications with friends and family members can be very critical to unit morale. Although phone conversations, e-mail letters and photos can be exchanged fairly often, chances to see children and spouses fully interacting can be few and far between, if any.
Spouses of Marine Attack Squadron-513 personnel decided to have a video made of families and friends of deployed Marines, so the Marines at Bagram Air Base could see their loved one's interacting with each other and having fun.
"The video is a way for us to show ourselves to our Marines," said Amber E. Warlock whose husband, Capt. Geoffrey F. Warlock, is an AV-8B Harrier pilot with VMA-513. "Not everyone sitting back home owns the technology allowing them to send videos of themselves and their children."
It also provides a chance for some deployed Marines to see how much their children who have grown a bit since they've been away.
"So far our kids are eight months older than when their dads and moms left the states," explained Warlock. "They grow so much in that time."
The video was filmed during a family picnic at Smucker's Park May 17. The event offered everything that could be desired of a family picnic food, fun, prizes and more.
The kids had a chance to enjoy the games at the picnic, which all offered prizes for winners. There was a football toss, "Nightmare Darts" balloon pop, and "Lucky Duck" pick-a-duck game.
Knowing the good-nature and spirit of Marine family members, the adults of course also participated in the games.
"This picnic was geared especially towards kids no matter what age, even the adult kids," explained Warlock.
The picnic also featured sack races and three-legged races with four different age divisions, including an adult bracket.
Warlock said, "I think the wives had the most fun doing the three-legged race."
The picnic was a morale-boosting event for many of the family members and gave them the realization that they are not alone.
"It's important that we can all come here and pass information, and it's good to meet other spouses in the same situation," said Susan T. Glen-Walker. "It's also good for my daughter to meet other children and have fun."
Being Key Volunteers for the squadron, Warlock and Katie Franzak, wife of Maj. Michael V. Franzak, executive officer, VMA-513, are highly concerned with the welfare of squadron families.
Warlock stressed, "If I could help just one family get away from the monotony then it was all worth it to me."
Warlock said more events will be held in the future, and she's glad to see the families getting together and enjoying one another.
"Katie Franzak and I planned the whole thing. We're trying to hold events every two months, and we volunteered to do this event. We just came up with a theme, and our theme was carnival," she added.
Warlock said, "We had the best turn-out we've ever had for any of our Key Volunteer events and hope that even more people come to the next one."