MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI -- While the holiday season is a time for celebration, for many single and unaccompanied Marines and Sailors it is also one of their first times away from their families during the holidays.
The Single Marine Program, located in the Hornet's Nest, is offering a variety of programs for the Station's single and unaccompanied service members for this year's holidays.
"We're offering these programs to keep the single and unaccompanied Marines entertained and occupied during the holidays, so they don't miss their families as much," said Jay Stovall, SMP manager. "They are separated from their families and sacrificing to defend our freedom. So we're giving them a place to go, hang out, relax, be with their peer group and give them an alternative to sitting in the barracks."
The events kick-off with a sock hop Sunday at the MAC Dome, from 2-9 p.m. The sock hop is designed to start off the Toys for Tots drive on the Station by charging one new, unwrapped toy for admission. The event is open everyone, and will feature a motorcycle rally with motorcycles from all over southern Japan, two bands, a disk jockey, and a raffle. Free hamburgers, hot dogs, and soft drinks will be served.
The week before Christmas, the SMP will hold a toy wrapping party and deliver the toys to local orphanages, according to Stovall. The Marines will deliver the toys in their dress blue uniform.
And while in the season of giving, Marines may also want to purchase gifts to send home to their families.
There will be a shopping trip to Hondori Mall in downtown Hiroshima Dec. 16. Participants will meet up at the Hornet's Nest at 10 a.m. for a bus ride to and from the mall.
The SMP will also provide several other trips in the month of December, including a sushi dinner night out on Dec. 8, a Mikan, or tangerine, picking trip Dec. 9 which meets at 10 a.m., and a ski trip Dec. 22, weather dependant, which meets at 5 a.m.
For Christmas and New Years Eve, the Hornet's Nest will be serving a finger-food buffet including things like hot dogs, chicken, deviled eggs, chips, dip, cookies, and cupcakes.
"We'll lay out the food all day long," said Stovall. "It's just a time for them to watch the parades and festivities on TV and snack."
For those Marines standing duty on Christmas, the SMP will come to them to provide a little holiday cheer, delivering a small gift and gift certificate.
"We're thanking them for standing duty on the holidays while the rest of us are off," said Stovall.
The Hornet's Nest will be offering 24 hour service to the single and unaccompanied Marines and Sailors on Station, seven days a week, during and after the holiday season.
"Marines can come to the Hornet's Nest and work out, play pool, watch movies, or get on the computers whenever they want too," said Lavonne Lessard, Single Marine Program coordinator.
The Hornet's Nest offers two bowling alleys, foosball, air-hockey tables and a gym with a sauna, video games and six computers with Internet access for e-mail, surfing the web, and computer games.
In the future, the Hornet's Nest plans to make changes for a more entertaining atmosphere.
"We are trying to get some more pool tables, computers with access to the Internet, and games," said Lessard. "We are also trying to offer a more of a selection of food for the Marines."
The Hornets Nest is located next to the 7-Day Store on the Northside. For more information on the SMP and their holiday activities call 253-3585.