As the active-duty United States Marines begin to roll their sleeves up for the summer months, a group of Marines are preparing to protect those who plan to enjoy the beach this summer. On May 20, Marines who are a part of the fleet assistance program (FAP) will be out at Onslow Beach, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, lifeguarding until Labor Day this year.
“We have to go through a two-month training cycle to get our certifications,” said Gunnery Sgt. Osmel Delgado, the staff non-commissioned officer in charge for Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Installations East-Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. “We will get our CPR, oxygen administration and a lifeguard screener as well as other elements that will go into that.”
Between 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Air Wing and 2nd Marine Logistics Group, most of the Marines that make up the beach detachment are volunteers.
“It is a very special duty,” Delgado said. “Some of us were tasked to be here, while the majority of us volunteered because we want to be here.”
Everyone wants to have fun at the beach, but safety is an important role to everyone.
“Lifeguarding is our only duty, providing safety for everyone at the beach,” Delgado said. “We want to make sure everyone is safe, everyone has fun and everyone leaves the beach with their life.”
According to Sgt. Clark Necciai, the non-commissioned officer in charge with Headquarters and Support battalion, Marine Corps Installations East-Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, being a lifeguard is more preventative than reactive.
“Scoping out an area is the key to keeping people safe,” Necciai said.
While some Marines may think that being a part of the beach detachment sounds like a vacation, it is a lot of hard work every day. With 28 Marines comprising the whole detachment, these Marines will split into two separate groups and work in shifts for the next six months.
“This keeps me in shape,” Necciai said. “I like the responsibility that I am going to have to ensure that all safety falls on our hands.”