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Capt. Justin Sharpe spends time with his children during the Marine Corps University Picnic held at Locus Grove Park aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico on July 28, 2013. More than 36 countries participated in the Marine Corps University Picnic.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Cuong Le

MCU holds picnic for foreign officer, families

28 Jul 2013 | Lance Cpl. Cuong Le Marine Corps Base Quantico

Marine Corps University officers and their families from more than 36 countries gathered at Locust Shade Park in Triangle for the MCU Picnic on July 28, 2013.

The shining sun coupled with the smell of burgers cooking on the grill signaled the start to the MCU picnic held for the new international officers and their families to enjoy a day in the park. While interact without the barriers of rank and seniority.

MCU has held similar events for more than 20 years.

“The Marine Corps benefits from this program because we might one day be fighting alongside these officers in their own countries,” said Brig. Gen.  Thomas Weidley, president, MCU.

“There are officers here from Brazil, Columbia, Peru, the United Kingdom and Germany,” said Angela Miller, regional international student officer, MCU.

The picnic allows the officers to speak and mingle with their future teachers and classmates. It allows them to feel more at home while away from home, said Miller.

Having the officers meet other service members while not in uniform takes away the intimidation being around higher ranking troops sometimes causes.

The event was instituted by the state department to help build relationships with foreign countries, by showing the international officers that Marines are not just trained warriors, but honorable men and women serving with a similar purpose. Miller said.

According to Miller the international officer cook out benefits the Marine Corps by bringing together officer students and forming bonds between them and their families.

The picnic help the Marine Corps by making a good impression with the international officers that are here aboard Quantico to train, said Weidley.

“I believe the program helps the Marine Corps because it becomes easier to talk to someone after you have seen and talked to them more than once,” said Navy Lt. Loren Crone, chaplain, Marine Corps Embassy Security Group.

As the smell of burning charcoal faded away, the officers and their families exchanged disappointed goodbyes and returned to their cars, knowing that they have been welcomed to Marine Corps Base Quantico with open arms.

Combat Correspondent:
Marine Corps Base Quantico