CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq -- Napoleon Dynamite that is.
Actually, it was Lance Cpl. Matthew J. Neilon, a motor transport driver for Transportation Support Company, dressed as the movie character Napoleon.
Marines from Combat Logistics Battalion 5, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward) made pilgrimage to Camp Fallujah's Chapel of Hope Monday, Oct 30th, to watch their fellow service members in a Halloween costume contest.
Marines appeared resembling many odd and infamous pop-culture characters, including cartoon Doug Funny's Quailman, a few partygoers from Animal House, Britney Spears, and even Napoleon Dynamite.
"Vote for Pedro," Neilon, 20, of Cleveland, Ohio, repeated the movie's catchphrase backstage.
The rowdy crowd of Marines had a blast, laughing and talking throughout the duration of the show. They even called out some friendly heckles when fellow service members stepped on stage.
"The couple of whistles I got were kind of weird," said Lance Cpl. Brandon A. Langston, a heavy equipment mechanic for Maintenance Company, CLB-5. Langston, 21 of Maplesville, Al. appeared as an Animal House partygoer in a Toga (a sheet from his bed) wearing a blond wig that another Marine's mother mailed to them.
The costumed contestants each made a single appearance on stage, where the panel of judges graded them. While the judges evaluated each Marine's costume, the Marine answered a few questions from the host, Sgt. Theodore J. Garbera, 4th squad leader, Security Company, CLB-5.
"What's your name?" Garbera, 27 from Stamford, Conn. asked a contestant on one occasion.
"Lance corporal... uh... Napoleon," replied Neilon, triggering peels of laughter from the audience.
"It lets people do goofy stuff to get into a good mood, and to get closer as a family while we're out here (in Iraq)," said Cpl. Shaun M. Brown, 21 from Ada, Oklahoma.
"You see people running around everyday just doing their normal job, but to see them behind the scenes doing something goofy like that, you kind of realize something about their personality," elaborated Brown, a heavy equipment mechanic with Maintenance Company.
"It allows Marines to relax," said Sgt. James E. Tragear, a Motor Transport mechanic with Maintenance Company.
"(It helps them) not think about their job or the situations they're in," said Tragear, a 22-year-old native of Marquette, Mich.
"Marines from one company sitting next to another company, laughing together...it helps morale tremendously... (and) part of the commander's intent was to build unit cohesion," said 2nd Lt. Christ J. Pappas, a 29-year-old native of Ocala, Fl, and Security Company's executive officer.
Holding these traditions often reminds Marines of the types of freedoms they are trying to provide the Iraqi people. It also reminds Marines of home and their families.
"I'm not too good with words," said Tragear. Then, after a long pause, Tragear continued, "but it helps us remember why we're fighting, what we're doing over here... it's good that we do this just to remember, how it is back home, and the people back home who are thinking of us while we're over here."