A small band of Marines—plus one Navy Corpsman and a Labrador puppy—left the rigorous training environment of Camp Lejeune for a day of hunting in the tranquil North Carolina farmlands with Freedom Alliance.
This special event was by invitation of the Johnston County chapter of the Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation (QUWF), who had assisted in a hunt last year and determined to host their own. The QUWF provided ideal conditions, and even the weather cooperated on this particular Saturday.
Husband and wife, Mike and Shawna, drove out to the hunting grounds with their young Labrador Retriever named Rebel. Shawna is a Corpsman, who works in the maternity unit at Camp Lejeune’s naval hospital. Mike, affectionately called “Gramps” by his comrades because of his many years of service, works at the rifle range on base. He has served four combat deployments: two in Iraq and two in Afghanistan.
Mike invited Corporal Jonathan, who also works on the range, and their officer-in-charge Captain Kenton. Kenton is a V-22 Osprey pilot, who has served two combat deployments.
Sergeant Kyle is a ten-year veteran, who has deployed twice to Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Black Sea.
The QUWF designated three areas for hunting, which consisted of tall brush or pine forest, and included 25 quail in each area. A member of the hunt chapter managed each tract of land, using dogs to flush out the quail for our troops.
After those three tracts were thoroughly hunted, the QUWF provided a lunch break and set out another 25 birds in each lane for another go. It was a very generous and action-packed adventure for our Camp Lejeune folks.
Kyle explained what this hunt meant to him:
“This shows me the community cares,” he said. “They are taking time away from their own loved ones and spending money on us—strangers whom they’ve never met. It means a lot to come here, away from base and meet people who would do this for us—it really means a lot.”
He continued, “It’s a great opportunity for Marines who’ve never hunted, too. The club has provided a guided experience where we can learn hunting from experts in an environment that isn’t too rigid.”
Profound thanks and regard go to the four Marines and one Navy Corpsman who participated in this hunt. We are grateful for your continued service to our country.
Our deepest expression of appreciation to the QUWF, Johnston Country chapter, who organized and provided this experience for our service members. Also thanks to the owner of Wyse Fork Hunting Preserve for allowing us to hunt there.