VISTA — The GFWC Contemporary Women of North County came up with creative ways to support some Pendleton Marines.
Known as the “Gunfighters,” the Helicopter Marine Light Attack Squadron 369 was adopted by the city of Vista in April of 2013 and CWONC stepped up to join them. They soon formalized a plan to collect much needed socks for deployed Marines. Four CWONC members Laura Wilson, Lisa Pratte, Carollynn Holemo and Linda Bridges plus a member of the Women’s Club of Vista, Judy Pantazo, provided 300 pairs of bamboo socks through Operation Knock Your Socks Off.
In October 2013, the small Adopt a Squadron Committee was asked to put together a beach party to welcome home deployed Marines and thank them for their service and sacrifice. After much planning and hard work that included the Squadron’s Family Readiness Officer Crystal Gates, Vista City Management Analyst Cheryl Mast and two additional CWONC members Penny Hagler and Jenna Reid, the Gunfighters Beach Bash took place June 27 on base at Del Mar Beach for 500 Marines and their families.
As Marines and their families arrived on the beach they received a Beach Bash T-shirt, a Picnic Pal and coupons from local vendors. Each child received a bag with Frisbee, snacks and bubbles. The bluegrass band “Old Town Road” played and lunch was provided by the Vista American Legion. The Pride of Vista Lion’s Club princesses helped youngsters with face painting, hair chalking and temporary tattoos, and crafting with sand art was also available, plus surf lessons and volleyball. Photos to remember the day were provided by Remember This Photo Booth and there was even a dunk tank. Support groups Patriot Support, Veterans Association of North County (VANC) and Dogs on Deployment were there to provide information.
The Squadron’s new Commander Lt. Col. Jamey Federico ended the day in the sun by thanking the many groups and volunteers that worked so hard to insure the Marines and their families had a special day.