MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
The Marines waited excitedly. The hallways were buzzing with anticipation as the guests of honor finally walked through the door.
Twelve members of the Wolfpack football team out of North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C., Tom O’Brien, the head coach, and several Wolfpack staff members ate dinner with the Marines of Wounded Warrior Battalion-East, Wounded Warrior Regiment, Manpower and Reserve Affairs, here April 7.
At the beginning of the event, Capt. Ray Baronie, the battalion’s executive officer, gave a speech thanking the football players for their visit.
“We appreciate athletes like you coming down here,” Baronie said. “You guys are all heroes in our book.”
The Marines shook hands with the athletes and spoke to them about their experiences in the Marine Corps.
Some of the athletes got a closer look at the barracks. Cpl. Bobby Joseph, a wounded warrior, took a few of the players to his room to show them photos from Iraq.
“I showed them pictures of my injury and talked about the foot patrol I was on when I got hurt,” Joseph said. “It gave them a better understanding of what we have gone through.”
The Marines enjoyed the players visit to the barracks.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Sgt. Terrance James, the 2nd squad leader. “The players coming to the barracks showed they actually cared and volunteered, but it would have been nice if they could have spent the whole day instead of a couple hours.”
The Marines appreciated the support of the players.
“It’s always nice to get with the community,” said Lance Cpl. Kimani Boyea, a wounded warrior. “This is a great opportunity to see people are supporting what we do.”
When the gathering came to an end, the players loaded onto their team bus, but they left the Marines a N.C. State banner, signed by all the players, and a promise from the coach. O’Brien, a Marine veteran, told the Marines he would give them free tickets to attend any of the team’s games.