Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C. -- More than 2,000 Marines and family members from across all 13 Marine Aircraft Group 14 squadrons attended the sixth annual Winter Wonderland at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., Dec. 12.
This year, Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 hosted the festivities where Marines, Sailors and their families gathered to play games and enjoy the Wonderland attractions.
“This is the biggest year in our history for this event,” said Michael McGuinness, the family readiness officer for MAG-14. “This is the first year we have all of the squadrons of our group participating in the event.”
MAG-14 is the Marine Corps largest Marine aircraft group, including Marine Attack Squadrons 223, 231 542, and Marine Attack Training Squadron 203; Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadrons 2, 3, 4 and Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Training Squadron 1; VMGR-252; Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 2; and Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron.
According to McGuinness, the event included eight bounce houses; face painting; arts and crafts; sports; an outdoor theater playing holiday movies; the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Band’s jazz ensemble playing holiday favorites; and a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus on a KC-130J Super Hercules.
The wonderland was a great time for the group’s leadership to meet the families of the Marines who makeup the squadrons within MAG-14, said Sgt. Maj. Chris S. Bloebaum, sergeant major of MAG-14.
“Providing the opportunity for the families of our Marines to come in and see what their loved ones do on a regular basis ties back to the Marines Corps’ idea of the whole Marine concept,” said Bloebaum. “With the high operational tempo that MAG-14 has, strong family support is necessary.”
Occasions like the Winter Wonderland are also vital for the Marines, said Bloebaum.
“Events like this are great for the Marines because it breeds camaraderie and esprit de corps,” said Bloebaum. “Having all the Marines of the group together, swapping stories and shared experiences, is what these events are all about.”
According to Danielle Einhorn, wife of Staff Sgt. Matthew Einhorn, an EA-6B Prowler airframes mechanic with VMAQ-2, the festival was a fun event for the whole family.
The Einhorn family has grown accustomed to the high operational tempo of MAG-14.
“He was deployed this time last year,” said Danielle. “And he’s preparing for another one coming soon.”
Events like Winter Wonderland show MAG-14 families how much the command cares about its families, said Danielle.
“This really is a great event,” said Danielle. “We look forward to each year for a chance to have fun as a family.”