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Local News

Santa Barbara Navy League Hosting Welcome Home Gala for 3/5 Dark Horse Battalion

Members of the unit will be honored for their heroism during their tour of duty in Afghanistan, with festivities beginning Thursday

The Santa Barbara Navy League will host the U.S. Marine Corps’ 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines during a Welcome Home Gala this weekend in remembrance of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The Marine Corps’ 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, also known as 3/5 Dark Horse, will be honored at a reception on Friday for their exceptional acts of heroism during their tour of duty in the Sangin Province of Afghanistan.

The Welcome Home Gala, marking Sunday’s 10th anniversary of 9/11, will be held at various local venues. Festivities on Thursday and include the welcoming of USMC 3/5 at the Coral Casino Beach & Cabana Club in Montecito on Friday with guest speaker Maj. Gen. Ronald Bailey.

Bailey joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1977 and has served as the commander of countless units, was formerly the deputy commanding general, III MEF, and holds the title of commanding general 1st Marine Division. Bailey earned two master’s degrees, one from Webster University in business management and administration and one in national security strategy from National War College.

First organized in 1917 and having served in all major battles, the USMC 3/5 most recently battled the Taliban from October 2010 to May 2011, and because of the gravity of its missions, the 3/5 Battalion also sustained the highest casualty rate of any unit during the Afghan war. From September to April, 225 Marines from the unit were wounded or killed.

Seven members of the 3/5 Battalion have been decorated with the Navy Cross for gallantry in combat to date — two in Korea and five in Iraq.

The gala’s masters of ceremonies will be celebrities and military supporters Jack Scalia and Karri Turner. Emmy-nominated actor Scalia has been in more than 50 movies and plays a Marine Corps colonel in the film The Black Tulip. He devotes much of his time traveling the world to visit and thank troops. Turner, renowned for her role on the CBS television series JAG, recently returned from her 12th overseas tour and is most passionate about her work to support the troops.

The Santa Barbara Navy League is a nonprofit organization that supports U.S. service members and their families. SBNL has adopted 15 military units, including the U.S. Marine Corps’ 3/5 Dark Horse Battalion. For the sixth consecutive year, the league has received the Outstanding Council Award at the national level.

For a complete calendar of events for the Welcome Home Gala weekend or to purchase tickets, click here or call 805.407.5550.

Noozhawk intern Kristin Crosier can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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