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Maj. Pascal Gonzalez and daughter Isabella, 7.

Photo by Adele Uphaus-Conner

Quantico fathers spend an evening with their best dates — their daughters

3 Mar 2016 | Adele Uphaus-Conner Marine Corps Base Quantico

Lieutenant Col. E.J. Wunderlich was getting dizzy, but his date did not want to leave the dance floor. Gripping his hands, her blue satin party dress twirling, she swung him around and around the floor, giggling.

Ellie is three and she was very excited to be attending her first ball, Marine Corps Community Service’s Father-Daughter Dance held Feb. 26 at The Clubs at Quantico.

Four hundred people — dads in their formal evening wear or tuxedos and daughters in party dresses with corsages and tiaras — attended the event, which was open to all military members, active duty and retired.

One group arrived at the ball in a white stretch limo.

The princesses and their Prince Charmings danced to a mix of contemporary music and “oldies,” including Pharrell’s “Happy,” Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Cinderella,” Frozen’s “Let It Go,” “The Chicken Dance,” and The Temptations’ “My Girl.” The ladies danced on their father’s feet or up in their arms or in a circle of tulle, satin, ribbons and curls with their friends.

In between dances, they dined on cheese cubes, macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets and cake — banana, chocolate, and vanilla. One lady couldn’t wait to get back to her seat before licking the frosting off her slice.

Master Sgt. Esteban Garcia was there for the first time with his 3-year-old daughter, Noelani. He said she’d picked out her floor length royal blue satin gown with silver sash herself.

“It’s the whole little princess thing,” Garcia said. “She’s so into princesses.”

Major Ed Blackshaw brought his 6-year-old triplet daughters, Emma, Julia and Sarah to the dance. They each wore a shade of silver and had their hair coiled in Cinderella-style buns on the tops of their heads.

“This is a great chance to get out with my girls,” Blackshaw said.

Retired Maj. Erik Tyler and his daughter Kaela, 14, were at the dance for the fifth year in a row.

“This is our special night,” Tyler said.

“I’m happy to be here with my dad,” said Kaela, grinning at him.

While the fathers had a wonderful time with their little princesses, it’s a safe bet that the mothers enjoyed their evenings alone just as much.

“I think my wife is getting her nails done,” Wunderlich said.

— Writer:

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