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By C. Jayden Smith
The 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines Association will celebrate its annual reunion by returning to San Clemente for the first time in 10 years.
From Wednesday, March 30, to Saturday, April 2, dozens of former Marines will get to reunite with old friends and take part in numerous activities. They will also attend the “Magnificent Bastards” awards ceremony from 11 a.m. to noon on Thursday, March 31, at Park Semper Fi, in the Pier Bowl.
The public is invited to attend the ceremony.
The reunion’s location changes from year to year, according to Becky Valdez, newsletter editor for the 2/4 Association. It landed in San Clemente for 2022, as the city provides excellent California weather and the opportunity to visit Camp Pendleton, where the active battalion is stationed.
March 30 will be a day for checking in and getting settled, which is important for all the association members to gather together and be ready for the coming days’ events.
“It’s my goal to keep the guys connected,” Valdez said. “They need to reconnect as often as possible, as it’s mentally important for them to have these connections.”
The awards ceremony will be preceded by a performance from the 1st Marine Division Band, which is also stationed at the base.
Association members of five different ranks, including a first lieutenant, staff sergeant, sergeant, lance corporal and corpsman, will be awarded for their leadership.
Local figure Wayne Eggleston will give the welcome speech, followed by the city greeting from Mayor Gene James.
“This is quite an honor to have them here,” Eggleston said of the event.
Members of the public are welcome to show and provide support.
Next will be lunch at Fisherman’s Restaurant & Bar before a memorial ceremony on Friday, April 1, at Camp Pendleton’s Memorial Park, a shooting competition, and a banquet at El Adobe in San Juan Capistrano. On April 2, there will be a catered beach barbecue at San Onofre State Beach.
Valdez said that the importance in each reunion lies in recognizing that all of the members are getting older, and that the reunions are chances for people to reconnect and bridge the gap to the younger members.
Every year, countless wild stories are told, and some people who have not seen each other in decades get to meet, usually in an emotional fashion.
“The guys are … hugging and crying and healing, from the trauma of war,” Valdez said.
Visit 2-4association.org for more information about the 2/4 Association Reunion.
C. Jayden Smith graduated from Dana Hills High in 2018 before pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in digital and broadcast journalism from the University of North Texas. After graduating in December 2020, he reported for the Salina Journal in Salina, Kansas. Jayden loves college football and bothering his black lab named Shadow.