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By Jan Wagner - syndicated weekly columnist/photojournalist
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Car Show in Support of Camp Pendleton’s Marines

 

It is nice to do a good deed. It’s even better when that good deed is fun to do. Recently some fellow car enthusiasts and I got to do just that.

For me it started with an email from a fellow San Diego Miata Club member. He said that in two days the Marine Corps would be giving a going away party for the Marines due to ship out for Iraq and that they asked for a static car display at Camp Pendleton.


Sign on the freeway

Cars were needed for the show. As if the opportunity to support our Marines with a fun activity wasn’t enough incentive (it was), we were also told that the USMC would be providing food and beverages. Fortunately I had nothing to do at that time that couldn’t wait so I made plans to hop into my Miata on Friday morning and go.

     
                                           Miatas and a Porsche                                                                              Checking out the Plymouth Superbird

 
Corvettes on the Parade Ground                                                                         Nice Corvette


Not a welcome sight at a car show


Mustang

As you can see from the pictures it looks like a great time was had by all. The weather cooperated perfectly.


These guys take their fun seriously

Besides the car show there were booths, fun activities, delicious hamburgers and hot dogs.


Acura NSXs and Ferraris

In addition to several Acura NSXs, I’ve never seen so many Ferraris in one place. I later found out why.

According to a director of the Ferrari Owners Club (FOC), San Diego Region, the car show started to become a reality when he got together with someone from Camp Pendleton who is in charge of putting on events for the single Marines on the base. Then the FOC director contacted his fellow club members, as well as every other car club that he could reach, to help make this event a success. Despite relatively short notice, 99 cars were lined up: 30 Vipers, 30 Corvettes, 16 Ferraris (one all the way from San Francisco), some Woodie wagons, a Plymouth Super Bird from the 60s, Mustangs, a couple of Porsches, a Z28 Camaro, some customized cars with great paint jobs, a couple of Lotuses and, of course, Mazda Miatas.

The Ferrari guy had the privilege of talking with many of the young Marines who were due to ship out for Iraq. He told me that one young Marine commented to him that “he really appreciated our presence on the parade ground on Friday because they hear and read a lot about how what they’re doing is wrong and that Americans don’t support their troops.” The Ferrari guy – a former Marine himself, told me “that comment almost tore me up” but then added that the young Marine continued by saying that “our unanticipated presence at the going away party reaffirmed for him that his service to his country was an honorable thing.” Absolutely. Nevertheless that exchange tells me that we all need to do a much better job of letting our brave troops know that we truly support and appreciate them.

 
A rare Plymouth Super Bird

Between talking to people, looking around at the other cars and eating lunch, the time flew by. Before I knew it people were packing up and starting to leave.

After I drove off and got near the main road I noticed something interesting on the side of a building. It was a huge banner encouraging Marines to buckle up – in a way that I’m sure they could relate to. It got my attention too, enough so that I decided to stop and take a picture of it for this column.


Banner on a building

In the short time that it took me to get out of my car, walk a few feet away to take the picture, return promptly to my car and buckle up, an official vehicle, complete with lights on its roof, drove up and parked beside me. Its uniformed occupant immediately got out and politely demanded an explanation for why I took a picture. Whoa! Any questions that I might have had about security on this base were immediately and forever more wiped from my mind. The Marines on this base are very vigilant. Luckily my intentions (and actions) were quite harmless. I told him I fully understood his cause for concern, he accepted my honest explanation and then he sent me on my way.

This was a very special day.

As always, please share your stories and send your comments to AutoMatters@gmail.com. Enjoy the archives and more at www.AutoMatters.net. Drive safely and do join me again next time.

 

Copyright © 2004, 2006 Jan R. Wagner – #88r2 AutoMatters

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