MCAGCC TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- The sight of almost 2,000 Marines running over a hill, shouting cadence and bearing toward an objective, would normally be considered a wee bit threatening.
The warriors of the Marine Corps Communications and Electronics School, however, turned it into a vision of the Christmas spirit during their annual run to support the Toys for Tots program Dec. 7.
A giant formation of approximately 1,851 Marines swept over the hill at the top of 4th Street to deliver more than 1,300 toys, according to MGySgt. Dwight Garner, MCCES operations chief and run coordinator.
"We do a quarterly run, and at Christmastime we combine it with the Toys for Tots effort," Garner said. "Generally we have more than 90 percent of our Marines participating."
The Marines came down the hill and encountered four trucks. Two were parked on each side of the road. As the columns split and the Marines ran past the vehicles, they tossed in toys, pelting the Marines who hunkered in the truckbeds with bags.
Combining an esprit de corps run with unit participation in the toy drive has become a tradition for MCCES. Although Garner was unsure when the first Toys for Tots run took place, he has records of the event since 1996.
The new, unwrapped toys the Marines ran with will be distributed by the Toys for Tots program to children who might not otherwise receive a toy for Christmas. Barrels to donate toys can be found in buildings around the Combat Center for those who would like to support the cause, but who don't feel like running a mile to do it.