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Bill Wight Recounts His Experience at Twentynine Palms 

Written by Bill Wight and published at



CBBQA Cooks May 17th, for the 1st Marine Corps Division 29 Palms

29palms10.jpg (16806 bytes)

The CBBQA members, volunteers, and many sponsors had a very successful weekend and made many of our Military personnel and families VERY happy!  See some email and pictures.

Bill Wight--

At 1200 hours (noon) on Saturday May 17th, we had everything set up and ready to go--chaffing dishes going hot and cold with barbecue and sides, buns and hot dogs waiting for little hands to grab, iced tea, lemonade and about a thousand iced sodas waiting for thirsty throats, watermelons galore sitting in their icy tubs, just waiting to make sticky faces.  We needed only one thing more—Marines family members.  We had fed the Marine work party that had set up the tables and chairs, but no one else arrived.  At 1230 hours, we looked at each other and wondered if anyone would come and enjoy all the food we had prepared.  At 1245, we began to really worry, for there were no Marines standing in lines waiting for pulled pork sandwiches, no kids at the goodie tables, no Marine wives queuing up for some sliced tri-tip, potato salad and dirty rice.

But at 1300 hours, the flood gates opened and we were descended upon by the most friendly and respectful group of people I've ever had the pleasure to meet.  One young Marine remarked, "Sir, this is the best thing I've put in my body in 12 months."  Each time I got a big grin and a "Thank You" from a Marine family member or a Marine, I said, 'Thank You' back.  I felt humbled in the presence of all these incredible people.

The day before, when I arrived at the event staging area at the Hi Desert airport in Joshua Tree at noon, I was hot, tired and a little bit put out at having to do so much work for this event, like picking up and hauling over 1,200 pounds of meat and struggling with 10 ice chests.  It was also very hot in my trailer and I was out of extra ice.  I was stressed because I did not have enough ice chest space for some of the meat I picked up at Smart & Final in Cathedral City.  Others were on their way with more ice chests and ice but they were late.  I began to play 'musical ice chests' with ice-cold pork butts and not cold enough tri-tips.  I was sure that nothing could be worth this much effort and stress and I vowed that'd I never do this again.

I was never so wrong in my life.  I will be honored if I can do this again.

When I got on the Twentynine Palms Marine base and saw all those Marines and Marine wives and Marine kids, I felt ashamed of my whining and complaining.  How could I compare the few days of work, in my air-conditioned home, office and truck, that I did, to the work that our Marines are doing in Iraq, and doing under such appalling conditions?  How could I compare the little work I did with what the families of our Marines are going through--separated from their wives, husbands, families and friends? I could not.

I thought this barbecue picnic was going to be for the Marine families.  It turned out to be more than that--it turned out to be one of the most satisfying things I have ever done.

I would like to thank Del King, former 1st Tanks Marine, for allowing me to help him with this wonderful event.


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