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Young Marines Adopted For Family Style Thanksgiving

Aired 11/23/11 on KPBS News.

More than a thousand young marines who can't go home for Thanksgiving will be adopted for the day by families around San Diego and Orange Counties.

More than 400 cars, vans and even limos will pull up on Camp Pendleton Thanksgiving Day to whisk small groups of young Marines off base for a family-style Thanksgiving dinner.

Suzanne Taburun of the Armed Services YMCA said more than 1,100 young Marines - whose families live more than 50 miles away - signed up. They are currently training in the School of Infantry.

“They’ve all been through bootcamp and they’re Marines now,“ she said, “Those that will go to deployable units, this will be their first deployment. We still have a lot of our young military going into harm's way.”

A new headquarters command unit will leave Camp Pendleton for Afghanistan in January. Thousands of Marines from the base will depart in the following months for seven month deployments.

Taburun says families as far south as Coronado and as far north as Orange County volunteered to host the Marines. She said she had to disappoint more than 100 volunteer families because there weren't enough young Marines to go around.

In addition to the YMCA program, Junior Seau's in San Diego hosts 50 Marines for Thanksgiving Dinner.

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