Marine Corps aims to strengthen ties through reunion website
By TYLER HLAVAC | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 28, 2017
The Marine Corps’ latest suicide-prevention effort aims to help organize unit reunions so Marines can stay in touch with their battle buddies.
Year of the Reunion, a website launched by the service last week, gives servicemembers and veterans the tools to plan these get-togethers, and Commandant Gen. Robert Neller is encouraging Marines to participate.
“We learn, share, mourn, celebrate, and protect each other by coming together and telling stories,” he said in a Marine Corps statement. “Reunions, and the connections strengthened by them, offer an environment in which we are reminded of who we are.”
The site — www.usmc-mccs.org/reunion/ — includes a timeline for organizing events, communication tips and updates. It also lists upcoming reunions, offers tips for give-aways, such as T-shirts, patches and coins, and allows organizers to post photos from their events.
So far, dozens of reunions have been listed on the site, and a recent post shows photos from a 10-year reunion for 1st Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment’s 2006 deployment to Fallujah, Iraq.
Neller, who told National Public Radio last year that reunions help Marines transition from combat and prevent them from taking their own lives, said Year of the Reunion would help organizers collaborate and avoid planning and execution pitfalls.
“When veterans came back from World War II or Korea, you know, they joined the [Veterans of Foreign Wars] or the American Legion or the Marine Corps League and that was the place where they went to tell their stories and share and get comfort with each other and help each other,” Neller told NPR. “I would like to think that these reunions are going to do the same thing.”