Aviation Ordnance celebrates 87 years

1 May 2009 | Sgt. Gina C. Rindt

Eighty-seven years of explosive power and tradition culminated in a two-day birthday celebration April 23 and 24.

Aviation ordnance Marines and sailors aboard the Air Station celebrated the 87th aviation ordnance birthday with multiple events, which included a golf tournament April 23 and a social later that evening. On April 24 a barbecue was hosted at the Shady Point Park picnic area as part of the celebration.

The 6th annual Aviation Ordnance golf tournament at MCRD Parris Island Legends Golf Course was the kickoff to the birthday celebration April 23. The event was open to ordnance active duty Marines and sailors, retired, former ordnanceman and guests.

“I don’t normally golf, but I enjoy spending time with fellow ordnancemen and former Marines,” said Cpl. Marshawn Gallegos, an aviation ordnance support equipment Marine with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31. “I look forward to the future tournaments like this one.”

During the golf tournament there were over 100 participants, according to Del Tingley, the president of Association of Aviation Ordnance Chapter 39 of Beaufort. The participants were given the chance to get a few swings in at the driving range before the tournament began and were also offered food after the event.

After the golf tournament the Officers and SNCO’s, along with retirees, proceeded to the log cabin aboard the Air Station for a social gathering.

“The social was a great time for officers and SNCO’s to enjoy the evening after the annual golf tournament,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Thomas Cole, the ordnance division officer-in-charge for Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 115. “The gathering included food brought by all attending and fun times for all, while reminiscing about the good times in the military.”

On April 24 the celebration and unit competitions were held, for all ordnancemen and their guests as well as retirees. Southern cooking, games, raffles and the chance to get together with fellow ordnancemen and celebrate their birthday were part of the event.

“I enjoyed the barbecue because I got the opportunity to compete against fellow ordnancemen in the games,” said Gallegos. “Having the retirees at the event made me realize the bond we all have being such a close-knit family is there and respected by all.”

During the barbecue, the ordnancemen and guests were given the chance to eat and enjoy friendly competition with other units. There was a raffle during the celebration where participants could win gifts ranging from cups to cameras to golf bags.

“We celebrated in different ways during the course of the birthday celebration,” Cole said. “Having the barbecue at the end is good for a lot of the participants, because they can get to know not just active duty ordnance members but the retirees and former Marines as well.

“As we all celebrate our birthday we grow closer as a family and an organization. There were many volunteers who gave up their time to help insure the events went smoothly and allowed everyone to enjoy themselves,” Cole continued.

During the barbecue, the food was provided free of charge from the Association of Aviation Ordnance Chapter 39 of Beaufort, and the volunteers helped prepare the food and spent their time making the celebration a memorable one.

“I looked forward to being a part of the event, as the cook, and knowing I did something, which everyone would enjoy, makes all the hard work worth it,” said Master Sgt. Rodney McFadden, the Air Station ordnance chief. “For me, cooking is a tradition, and bringing the taste all the way from Lake City to such a tight-knit ordnance community is always fun, knowing they enjoy it makes it all worthwhile.”

During this year’s birthday, the Air Station has recognized the first Ordnance Marine of the year, who is Sgt. Wesley Paben, with VMFA-115 ordnance division.

“The ordnance birthday is a very special occasion for many, and it means a lot to be one of the few who celebrate more than just the Marine Corps birthday but our own beginning as a family within the military family,” Cole concluded.