Council Approves Recruiting Event For Marines

OCEAN CITY — Resort officials this week approved a U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) request to set up an interactive outreach and recruiting event in conjunction with the O.C. Air Show in June.

The Mayor and Council on Monday had before them a USMC event request in conjunction with the O.C. Air Show and the arrival of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels. The event would provide an interactive experience for the general public as well as promoting the USMC and the benefits of service.

The USMC requested the use of the beach and Boardwalk area between 3rd and 4th streets. The event would include a semi-trailer with an interactive set-up inside, a 10-foot by 10-foot tent with a pull-up bar for potential recruits and other members of the general public, a Humvee and other vehicles, a blow-up drill instructor, an indoor simulated marksmanship trainer (ISMT) and other materials related to the Marine Corps. The corps will also distribute a large amount of free USMC items including lanyards, water bottles, T-shirts and bags along with photo opportunities with corps members.

It’s not unusual for the USMC to conduct a recruiting effort in Ocean City each summer, particularly in early June when there is a large number of young people and recent high school and college graduates in the area. This year’s request is a little different because of the desire to set-up as close as possible to the Blue Angels and the O.C. Air Show, which will be going on simultaneously.

The Mayor and Council had no problem with the intent of the event, but did have some questions about the size and location, particularly the request to include essentially a tractor-trailer on the beach between 3rd and 4th streets.

“In the past, various military services have come to recruit during the Air Show,” said Councilman Dennis Dare. “It’s what they do. That’s part of the mission of the demonstration teams like the Blue Angels. I think they can do something other than a tractor-trailer. Is there some way to accommodate them without that? It’s going to be hard to squeeze a tractor-trailer into that area of the beach.”

Special Events Coordinator Lisa Mitchell said the USMC had shown a willingness to be flexible with certain aspects of the event, but the interactive tractor-trailer was an integral part of the overall experience.

“They want to be as close to the Air Show as possible, which is why they chose the area between 3rd and 4th streets,” she said. “They can do their recruitment without it, but it’s a big part of what they want to do.”

Mayor Rick Meehan said it made sense for the USMC recruitment effort to be set up near the Air Show.

“The reason for the dates in conjunction with the Air Show is because there are a lot of young people here at that time of year,” he said. “I’m a little surprised the Air Show wouldn’t want them to be a part of it and even closer to the main events.”

The council voted unanimously to approve the USMC requested recruiting event in conjunction with the O.C. Air Show.

The event will be held Friday, June 16 to Sunday, June 18 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on each of the days. There were some conditions attached. For example, the Ocean City Beach Patrol requested the USMC have the event set up before 8 a.m. each day and broken down after 7 p.m. each day. In addition, the Boardwalk trams will be in operation, so the USMC recruiting event will take steps to ensure the tram lanes remain open and clear for safe passage during the recruiting events.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.