South Jersey families host 250 Coast Guard recruits for Thanksgiving

Coast Guard Training Center Cape May NewsCAPE MAY, N.J. – The Coast Guard and the American Red Cross will place 250 Coast Guard recruits with 92 local-host families for Thanksgiving as part of Operation Fireside Thursday at 8:15 a.m.

Operation Fireside has placed recruits with South Jersey families during the holiday season since 1981. Coast Guard Training Center Cape May may have more than 600 recruits training to become Coast Guardsmen at any given time who come from all 50 states and U.S. territories. Operation Fireside allows the recruits to celebrate the holiday with their host family while they’re separated from their loved ones during training.

“This is one of the best ways the community can give back to the military,” said Cmdr. Miles Barrett, the chaplain for Training Center Cape May. “It shows the most junior and newest military members that people care about them and their missions.”

Operation Fireside is coordinated annually by the American Red Cross Southern Shore Chapter in Cape May Court House, N.J. The Red Cross solicits and tracks volunteers and host families, while Training Center Cape May pairs each recruit with a family Thanksgiving Day.

The families and the recruits will meet at the Training Center Cape May Guardian Chapel, and the recruits will be with the families until 8 p.m. While the recruits are off base, they will be allowed to eat as much as they want, call home, and relax before beginning training again that same day.

“We’re proud to say supporting military members is just one of our many Red Cross missions, and the families who host these men and women are also honored to have them in their homes,” said Donna Croskey, the Operation Fireside coordinator for the Red Cross. “Even after the Holidays, many of the host families attend the recruits’ graduation ceremony and stay in touch long after boot camp.”

Training Center Cape May is the Coast Guard’s only enlisted basic training program, and more than 83 percent of the Service’s workforce receive basic instruction here to become Coast Guardsmen. The recruits are trained in everything from fire arms familiarization to basic water survival. Most graduates from Training Center Cape May will be conducting front-line Coast Guard missions within a week of graduation.

Related Posts

Comments are closed.