Our second week at Camp Lejeune brought in even more amazing interviews from Marines, their families, and their friends. Aaron (L) and Shawna Burciaga (R) came in with their first daughter, three month old Hallie Jean (M). They talked about meeting in high school and then meeting again after they had both been away to college and completed their Mormon missions. It was love at second sight, and they were soon married after a very romantic surprise proposal in Times Square. After six months of marriage, Aaron deployed to Iraq. They are now getting ready to move to Monterey, California, where Aaron will attend military graduate school, and where Hallie Jean will have fun in the California sun.
Aaron then sent in his friend Francisco Castillo (R) and Francisco’s daughter Amanda Castillo (L) in for an interview. Francisco told Amanda stories about his rowdy childhood and his love of exploring the woods, which included a couple of frightening but exhilarating encounters with bears. They also talked about Francisco’s wife, and Amanda’s mother, who is a Marine currently deployed in Iraq. She has been away since September and comes back this Friday, and Francisco has been taking care of their four children, including Amanda, in her absence. Amanda is very excited for her mom to came home because, among other things, she is an excellent cook. Cooking is not Francisco’s specialty, and, Amanda tells him, “I’m sick of eating steaks all the time!”
Facilitators Jenna Weiss-Berman and Kemba Bloodworth went along with the Mobile Booth on the five hour trek from Charlotte, North Carolina to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina.
We were greeted by our gracious Marine escorts Corporal Meier and Lieutenant Thomas, who both work in the Public Affairs Office at Camp Lejeune. We parked the booth in front of the base’s own department store, the Marine Corps Exchange.
Corporal Meier and Lieutenant Thomas then took a look around the booth.
Some of our first interview subjects were Marines Nick DiOrio, of CaÃon City, Colorado, and Patrick Fleischman, from the Bronx, New York. Both men are combat journalists in the Marines. Nick takes his video camera wherever he goes, and Patrick is a photographer. Patrick knew he wanted to pursue combat journalism, and he told us that he could think of no better way to do that than by actually joining the military and being among the people he wanted to document. Nick recounted his time filming the current war in Afghanistan, where he was exposed to an entirely new, different, and interesting culture and way of life.