MALS-36 NCOs rid beach of waste, build camaraderie

1 Apr 2014 | 1st Marine Aircraft Wing

ARAHA BEACH, Japan - Noncommissioned officers with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 36 cleaned up Araha Beach March 28 to give back to the community and build camaraderie.

The event was coordinated by NCOs from units within the squadron, and was the first of what is planned to be a quarterly event, according to Sgt. Michael J. Elgaen, an advanced consolidated automated support system technician with the squadron.

“We wanted to put together something the NCOs could do that is both fun and helpful,” said Elgaen. “The cleanup gave back to the community and built new friendships between the units. Next quarter, we may not do the same thing, but it will still have the same goal in mind.”

The Marines gathered at the amphitheater on the beach and divided into groups to cover different areas where they could cleanup trash.

“We came out here to do something good while having fun at the same time,” said Cpl. Austin T. Reeves, an aviation ordnance systems technician with the squadron. “It helps improve the relations between the U.S. and our host nation while also improving the effectiveness and camaraderie in our squadron.”

Afterwards, the squadron sergeant major held a professional military education session regarding the commandant of the Marine Corps’ “Reawakening” letter, which describes NCOs as the backbone of the Corps.

“The reawakening is bringing the noncommissioned officers to the foreground,” said Sgt. Maj. Gary J. Bass, the squadron sergeant major for MALS-36, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “They will become more involved in leadership than they already are. If we make the changes at the NCO level now, they can pass it on to the Marines under them and carry it with them as they progress to higher ranks.”

After the sergeant major finished speaking, the Marines left with a greater understanding of their roles as NCOs and a stronger bond among their peers, according to Elgaen.

“Today was a complete success,” said Elgaen. “We helped our community, and strengthened our own ties to the Marines in our squadron. I’m looking forward to whatever we decide to do next time.”