Marines could be heard playing “Wagon Wheel”, the 12-Bar Blues and other riffs and licks on the guitar at French Creek Recreation Center on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Nov. 21.

Three lance corporals, all of varying skill levels, joined Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist Sam Lewis for the monthly Pickin’ and Prevention session, which began in September.

The goal of the program? To inform Marines of low risk drinking choices during a group guitar lesson led by Lewis.

“It’s something to do that would be low risk,” Lewis said. “You can keep growing with it, because I’ll never learn everything there is to know about the guitar. It’s another level of mentoring.”

As much as the program is about owning your limits and being aware of responsible alcohol consumption, it is just as much about the welcoming environment where Marines play guitar together. No guitar, no problem. There are several available for those that don’t have one at Pickin’ and Prevention.

Lance Cpl. Mauricio Tijerina, a Marine who wants to get back into playing guitar more, said that coming to the program was uplifting.

“[You get] inspired by others,” Tijerina said. “Everybody has different tastes or different styles, and when you are so used to your own style it’s so easy to just get locked into that, so when you learn from a different person you learn different points of view and styles of music.”

For Lance Cpl. Cody Burks, coming to the session was encouraging.

“It helps you build confidence,” Burks said. “Having other people playing around you just gives you a little more confidence.”

After the meeting, Tijerina said Marines interested in music could benefit from the program.

“I think that if they feel they can’t learn an instrument, they are wrong,” Tijerina said. “They can probably learn how to play here, and they’ll learn how fun it is not only to play by yourself, but to play with others.”

Pickin’ and Prevention continues every third Thursday at the French Creek Recreation Center from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, visit