Marines enjoy a little free time in Idaho
By Cpl. Matthew Shaw
| | August 19, 2000
TASK FORCE WILDFIRE -- Yellow and green flame-resistant uniforms were popular in Salmon, Idaho, last week as Task Force Wildfire Marines visited the town for a day of rest and relaxation.
Beginning 16 August, the four task force companies rotated days off.
The National Interagency Fire Center decided that giving firefighters one day off for every 14 work days would help prevent fatigue.
"This is great for everybody. We all need a little time off," said LCpl. Maverick Dunavan, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion. "Getting out here to see who we're helping really makes this operation worth our effort."
Many Salmon residents welcomed the opportunity to talk with Marines on the streets.
"They're really interested in seeing us. They're asking us how we're doing and how the fire looks," said LCpl. Nicholas Donlon, 1st CEB. "I just tell them that we're making progress."
Some local businesses showed their support for the firefighting Marines.
"It's awesome that the Marines are here. They're helping us out big time," said David Ferguson, owner of the local bowling alley. "We're charging half price for bowling today. That's enough for us to keep our lights on and the machines running."
Some Marines decided to bowl with their free time, while others checked their e-mail at the library, went to a movie or shopped. Some Marines went rafting and even fishing.
"This has a big impact on our morale," said PFC Adam Hoy, 1st CEB. "Working on the lines gets to be a stressful environment; we're all getting along better after relaxing."
As the first company loaded onto buses to return to camp, ashes fell on the smokey Idaho town.
"This just makes us want to get out there and get that fire out," said Cpl. Mark Hannah, 1st CEB.