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Wayne Eggleston
Wayne Eggleston

By Wayne Eggleston

San Clemente is very honored and proud to have not one but two adopted Camp Pendleton Marine Corps units: 2nd Battalion 4th Marines, “The Magnificent Bastards”; and HMLA-469, “Vengeance.” 2nd Battalion 4th Marines was adopted in 1996, and HMLA-469, a helicopter squadron, was adopted in 2013. Previously, when I was mayor, we adopted HMLA-367; however, they moved to Hawaii in 2012.

Both Marine Units participate in many community events from parades down Avenida Del Mar to beach cleanup days. We reciprocate by hosting barbecues for them when they return from deployment and assisting their families in a variety of ways throughout the years. We are very blessed, as San Clemente has dozens of organizations helping Marines and their families at Camp Pendleton.

Both of these Marine Units will be going on extended deployments in May, far away from their families and community friends. While they will be very active during their deployments, it is a lonely time for many. During their deployments, we as a community can help them and make them feel that they are wanted, appreciated and loved by San Clemente residents.

So how can we help? There are two ways. One is to adopt a Marine and/or a Marine family during deployment. Currently we have a waiting list of 75 Marines/Marine families waiting to be adopted. So what does adoption entail? You can send letters, emails, deployment packages, assist in many ways to help their families—the list is endless, and we will leave it up to you to decide how you can help. Go to www.marinemonument.com and fill out a simple form, and we will put you in touch with a Marine and/or Marine family.

The second way to help is to donate deployment “goodies” to both Marine Corps. In past years we have sent more than 500 boxes of “goodies” to Iraq, Afghanistan and to ships in the Pacific. It is quite an undertaking. You can drop off items in the red bins at the following locations: City Hall at 100 Avenida Presidio; Community Development Department at 910 Calle Negocio; the San Clemente Community Center at 100 N. Calle Seville; and San Clemente Aquatics Center at 987 Avenida Vista Hermosa.

Suggested items include: beef jerky, protein/PowerBars, powdered drink mix (like Gatorade or Crystal Light), Sour Patch kids, Twizzlers, nuts, trail mix, magazines (sports, cars, hunting, rifle), air fresheners, cookies, baby/wet wipes, T-shirts, socks, books, Pringles, deodorant, cards, letters, blank stationary, stamps, lip balm, razors, shaving cream and sunscreen.

For more information, please email heritage@marinemonument.com or call Wayne Eggleston at 949.498.4958.

The Memorial Day celebration at Park Semper Fi is at 2 p.m. on May 30. We will be honoring Al Ehlow, former San Clemente Police Chief and former Marine who passed away in 2015.

Wayne Eggleston is the executive director of The Marine Monument at Park Semper Fi in San Clemente and a current San Clemente Planning Commissioner. He was on City Council from 1998 to 2010.

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