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Lance Cpl. Nathaniel Z. Udovich, a 21-year-old mail clerk from Trenton, Mo., prepares chicken and steak at Camp Baharia, Iraq, Dec. 7. Marines with Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, held a barbecue to take their minds off of daily operations.

Photo by Cpl. Chris T. Mann

Barbecue a morale booster for Marines in Iraq

8 Dec 2008 | Cpl. Chris T. Mann

There is nothing like a backyard barbecue to take your mind off the daily grind of fighting terrorism.

That was the shared sentiment of Marines with Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1 during their unit barbecue at Camp Baharia, Iraq, Dec. 7.

Leaders with the company organized the event to build camaraderie and to afford the Marines some relaxation time. The unit arrived to Iraq from Camp Pendleton, Calif., in early October and is nearing the halfway mark in the deployment.

Marines periodically joined others at the barbecue as they were relieved of their duties throughout the day. They also played a pick-up soccer game on a dirt lot using hand-made soccer nets.

“We had an awesome game of soccer,” said Cpl. Ruben D. Menachosalas, a 23-year-old administration clerk from Incline Village, Nev. “Games like these get your blood flowing and boost morale for us.”

Lance Cpl. Nathaniel Z. Udovich, a 21-year-old mail clerk from Trenton, Mo., volunteered to cook and prepared chicken and steak.

“I love doing things like this for other Marines. I know they get to enjoy a little food and sometimes things like this just make your day go that much better,” said Udovich. “This is one of the few moments when everyone stops working for a little bit to spend time with each other.”         

Although the barbecue offered only a small break from their daily duties in a combat zone, the Marines seemed happy to spend a few relaxing moments with each other.

“It is good to spend time with your friends when you don’t have to work, and stuff like soccer takes your mind away from where you are,” said Menachosalas.