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Operation BBQ for the U.S. Marines
1st RECON Battalion
Camp Pendleton

I arrived Saturday at the Camp Pendleton Marine base and was a very minor part of making the BBQ lunch happen and especially a minor part of all the work that was put in by the many volunteers.  Thought I might try and put together a document that would better let everybody understand what went on that Friday and Saturday, from multiple perspectives.  The following is input from some of the attendees and how they felt about the event.  I will add my own rendition at the end.  
Dan Cannon

Posted by John Richardson to Sun 06/08/2003 7:30 PM
Hi All
I'd like to report another successful CBBQA BBQ for the troops. Many marines showed upexpecting hot dogs and hamburgers. It was jaw-drop time when they saw four BBQ trailerrigs taking up their entire basketball court and some of California's best BBQers waiting for them with brisket, pulled pork, tri-tip, sausage and a whole pig. Many thank you's are in order,
Gene Goycochea whose persistence made this event possible.
Stephanie, the delightful dynamo of 1st Recon Bn, who bent all the right ears to bring this event to fruition.
Bill Wight who did everything. Never saw him stop or sit down all day.
Don Grissom who cooked awhole pig in his Good One rig. He was performing as Solo Bubba this time. 
Todd Eves who brought his new hot rod candy-apple red smoker. Besides looking good, it cooks-up some dynaOmite barbecue.
Dan Cannon who broughtBig Red his Ole Hickory mobile rig to handle most of the side dishes and his famous dirty rice. 
Carl Kaun was there and was able to make order out of mayhem. Carl has a special talent to set up the flow of the buffet line.
Dan Drogichen andAnn Hoeppner  handled the serving line and all the chores in Gene's rig.
Del Rice, who was the Lead Man at the May 17th 29 Palms event, helped out.
A special thank you to the young men from the ROTC program. They were informed of this event at the last minute, but showed up and worked tirelessly to make this event a success.
Thank you tothose who sponsored this BBQ, Smart and Final and Head Country. There were others also, Gene will have to fill you in. Randall Oliver from Smart and Final proved he can carve a mean pig.
And thank you especially to the Marines of 1st Recon Battalion and their family members. We were there to welcome you home and thank you for your courage and commitment. Meeting these young people sure makes you proud,
Funny moment of the day: A young boy is in the buffet line and sees the whole pig. He says 
"I want the eyes." Todd Eves is walking by and hears him. Todd performs battlefield Lasik surgery on Mr. Pig and plops the eyes on the kid's plate. Todd and the kid are laughing their Boston's off while the boy's mom is getting jelly-leg and about faint. Definitely a twisted Norman Rockwell moment.
And thank you to CBBQA for allowing us this opportunity to participate in another BBQ for the Troops. Let's do it again.
John and Lynda Richardson

Posted by Gene Goycochea to Mon 06/09/2003 3:30 PM
I have to say that we had an excellent group at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside this past weekend, the cookers arrived before 6:00 pm on Friday, they cooked all night. We had everything ready early, our other volunteers arrived around 8:00 am on Saturday.  Our helpers and the ROTC guys really pitched in, they shredded, cleaned, served... etc. 

We were treated so well by the 1st Recon men and by the brass. They gave us hats as a thanks at their little ceremony.

At the end, after some of our volunteers left, they came over to get addresses from each of us to have a very special paddle made and engraved to thank us again....
What a rewarding experience for our group....
Glad that we could all be a part of it.........
I need names and addresses for those who were there and did not give this information to the Major......
e-mail me privately....

 Bill Wight posts the following on 12-June-2003

On 6 and 7 JUN, our BBQ group (5 cooks and 5 helpers plus 5 ROTC guys) put on a barbecue cookout for the Marines of the 1st Div, 1st Recon Battalion returning to Camp Pendleton from Iraq--about 250 Marines plus their families. The event was held in Camp Margarita. The guys had returned early Friday morning, June 6th. What a great bunch of guys! I learned that the Recon boys are the 'special forces' of the Marines. We heard lots of really hairy war stories after the picnic. The Marines and family members just could not believe that a bunch of civilians who did not know them would go to all the trouble and expense of doing this for them. We kept telling them that what we were doing was nothing compared to what they had done and continue to do for us.

Near the end of the picnic, we were invited to go across the parking lot to where a group of Marines were in a circle. At first, I thought that maybe the guys were going to give us a ceremonial unit ribbon and pin it to our chests (through the flesh as was their custom) and I whispered to Gene next to me, that I'd just as soon forgo that honor. But the circle was not about us, it was a ceremony for a Marine Air Group pilot, who flew down from his home in San Francisco that morning to be at the picnic with this group of Recon Marines. The pilot was a Captain who was assigned to the 1st Recon Battalion as their FAC for close-in air to ground support. All the Marines in the circle around this pilot were non-coms and officers, including the Battalion XO, a Lt Col, a Major and a few Captains. We were not told what was going on but figured it out pretty quickly. The ceremony started with a Master Sergeant who was telling stories about all the great things this pilot did to help his unit and a few funny stories involving the pilot as well. The Master Sergeant held a fancy wooden paddle with elaborate braiding on it and the signatures of the Battalion non-coms and officers and an engraved plaque. The paddle would get passed from one non-com or officer to another and each would tell a story (some serious, some funny) about what this Marine FAC did during their four months together in Iraq. There was loud DJ music going on all through this and some of the speeches were hard to hear. I think it was the Major who then told of how he tried hard to pull strings to get a pilot buddy of his as their FAC, but failed and was 'stuck' with this Captain. He then went on to tell how incredible this pilot was in helping his unit out of jam after jam. After all the non-coms and officers had told their tales, the Recon Battalion XO was last with his little roast and at the end, presented the pilot with the paddle. The pilot Captain then gave a speech and they all shook hands and the group broke up.

At the end of the picnic, the captain's wife who arranged the picnic presented our group with Unit Caps. Unfortunately, I was around back washing pots when they gave out the Recon caps and didn't get one. After most of the Marines and their families drifted off, and we began to get the leftover barbecue (pulled pork, smoked sausage, brisket, tri-tip and sides) ready for shipment over to the mess hall for some other Marines to enjoy for dinner, the Major told us the Recon Battalion would like to give our group the same kind of paddle they had presented to the FAC pilot. We were floored that they would do this for us. They asked us if we could come back to Camp Pendleton and they would cook for us and present us our paddle.

We were honored and told them we'd be happy to come back for the event. The Captain said they'd have a cap for me when we returned.

My post of the event on 10-June-2003, 16:30

Arrived at Camp Pendleton about 08:00 and entered through the Los Puglas gate geographically located off the 5 freeway between the north and south entry gates (17 miles apart). Took about 20 minutes to arrive at the BBQ picnic location, area 33 (near Margaretville and the Subway sandwich shop). All the pit masters, Todd Eves, Don Grissom, and Gene Goycochea, were busy cooking meats that had been put on the night before.

Turns out that Todd was cooking the tritips and there was no chicken to cook. So, since that is what I was going to cook I had it easy, I had nothing to cook. Instead I used Big Red for another important function. I heated up my contribution of 3 full pans of Dirty Rice pans (made the night before) and used the cookers remaining space for keeping the completed pans of meats and sides warm from the other pits. That pretty much filled my pit up.

Lunch was being served at noon so I assisted as requested by others that were finalizing the preparation of the meats and sides for serving. About 11:45 I brought the sides and meats to the serving tables where Dan Drogichen, Ann Hoeppner, and Carl Kaun were setting up the serving line and equipment. Don Grissom and Gene were taking "Miss Piggy" out of Don's cooker and bringing it to the serving table.

When the serving lines were complete there were two entry points. Each entry point had servers providing pulled pork, brisket, sausages, BBQ beans, dirty rice, potato salad, rolls, and condiments. It was an excellent meal and everybody did a great job prepping, cooking, preparing, and serving the troops. All the folks were definitely excited about the food.

I assisted in keeping the servers pans full of product and trying to keep the food line cleaned up and moving. The serving window was open from noon through 14:15. Dan Drogichen, and Ann Hoeppner  never left the serving line!

I was on stand-by for work and had work responsibilities to respond to at 19:00 that evening so took the opportunity to pack up and leave early. I was on the road by 14:30 for home. Got lost on the base for about 10 minutes, then finally found my way home by 17:30.

I must say that everybody was working extra hard.  Bill Wight, Dan Drogichen, Ann Hoeppner, and the ROTC volunteers never stopped once in that they had the difficult job of the sides, immediate clean-up issues, and coordinating the serving.  Gene, Todd, I, and Don Grissom were working at our pits  pits keeping them loaded, cooking correctly, and unloading for preparation and serving.  
Overall it was a rewarding and exciting event for me. I must however state up front my efforts were minimal compared to the guys and gals that helped with the planning, got there the night before, and left after me.  Everybody worked very hard and provided the Marines with a great experience they will remember for a long time.

Dan Cannon

bill_rotc_2.jpg (56487 bytes) serving_line.jpg (36391 bytes) serving_line10.jpg (47871 bytes)
Bill Wight, the ROTC volunteers, and John Richardson
Dan Drogichen and volunteers on the serving line
Bill Wight, Ann Hoeppner, & Dan Drogichen, and Carl Kaun at serving line
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Don Grissom & Del King
"Miss Piggy", Don Grissom stayed up all night cooking her!
The 1st RECON troops enjoying the lunch environment
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The 1st RECON troops enjoying the lunch environment
The 1st RECON troops in line at for BBQ
The 1st RECON troops enjoying the lunch environment
genes_rig.jpg (37542 bytes) todds_pit.jpg (39144 bytes) big_red.jpg (46032 bytes)
Gene's BIG RIG BBQ Pit.
Gene loaded his big pit full of Pork butts and Sausages
Todd Eve's new "Out of this World BBQ" pit.  
Isn't it pretty!
Todd cooked the Tritip and Brisket
"Big Red", my (Dan Cannon's) Pit.
I used my pit as a heater and  warmer for the pulled Brisket, Pulled Pork, Sausages, Dirty Rice and BBQ Beans

Sponsors, Contributors, and Volunteers 

Dan Drogichen & Ann Hoeppner Dan Drogichen & Ann Hoeppner helped and worked very hard everywhere. Took over Gene's trailer and did a masterful job with sides, rubbing meat and then help to serve from the first person to the last!
Bill Wight Bill Wight picked up the sausage and pork butt Thursday from Villa Roma and Unistar Foods .  
Arrived Friday and prepped and cooked meats.  
Beans, provided and prepared 7 gallons  and fixings
Water melon, provided and prepared
Don Grissom BBQ Pit & fuel.  
Don Grissom arrived Friday and prepped and cooked meats.  
Whole Hog, stayed up all night cooking "Miss Piggy".

ROTC volunteers ROTC volunteers arrived Saturday morning and worked non-stop preparing beans, pulling brisket and pork butt, and cleanup.  Awesome job!
Todd Eves BBQ Pit & fuel 
Todd Eves provided OTH BBQ Rubs and sauces
Arrived Friday night, prepped and cooked brisket, butt, and tritip  Tended the brisket all night. 
Carl Kaun Carl Kaun arrived Saturday, helped everywhere. Took control of setting up the serving line and worked it start to finish
Gene Goycochea BBQ Pit & fuel
Gene Goycochea provided:
Pork Butts
Managed and put the event together
Provided sponsorship
Arrived Friday night, prepped and cooked all meats
Worked the serving line 
John and Lynda Richardson John and Lynda Richardson arrived Saturday, helped everywhere and worked the serving line.  Really tireless people, just helped with all the tasks, including clean-up.  Were among the last to leave.
Randall Oliver Randall Oliver, the Smart & Final representative, helped non-stop everywhere and provided all Smart & Final contributions and gave the cooks and helpers S&F aprons.
Del King Del King arrived Saturday and helped everywhere and arranged for the ROTC helpers.
Dan Cannon BBQ Pit & fuel
Arrived Saturday morning
Dirty Rice & fixings
Kept  prepared / pulled meats, beans, and dirty rice in pit as a warmer and helped with line supplies
Unistar Foods Inc Tritip, 80 pounds
Pork Shoulder Butt, 120 pounds
Alvin Yam of Unistar Foods Inc. donated a bunch of tri-tips and Bostons.  Alvin and Unistar helped us a bunch with the May 17th OBBQFOT event at the 29 Palms Marine Base by participating with Mike Curry of Yosemite Meat in providing the Bostons and temporarily storing some of the other donated meats in their meat locker
Coleman Meat Processors Brisket, 50 pounds
Head Country BBQ Rub, 50 pounds 
BBQ Sauce, 4 gallons
Danny & Carey Head, Paul Schatte, Linda Grouth and the entire Head Country crew were contacted on Monday of last week and put together two cases of their Head Country Rub & Sauces and got them delivered in time for the Friday/Saturday cook.  They scrambled on Monday to make the shipping cut-off and nailed it. 
Out of this World BBQ Products, 
Todd Eves
Brisket, 50 pounds
BBQ Rub, 10 pounds
BBQ Sauce, 2 gallons
BBQ Pit & fuel
Villa Roma Sausage Sausage links, 100 pounds
Thanks Ed Lopes and Jess Limon of Villa Roma Sausages for once again donating a bunch of their Sausages.  Villa Roma Sausages also helped out with a generous donation for the May 17th OBBQFOT event at the 29 Palms Marine Base.
Smart & Final Provided the following supplies for 600 event attendees!
Coca Cola & Sodas
Farmer John Hot Dogs
Rolls and buns
Potato Salad
Plates, napkins, cutlery,
Foil pans, condiments, table cloths
U.S. Marines The 1st Recon Battalion paid for the Whole Hog, Miss Piggy


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