On March 25th, numerous organizations came together at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico for a fly tying marathon. The purpose of this event is to tie as many flies as possible in 8 hours, so that they can be distributed to Project Healing Waters participants all over the country. 43 individuals tied in the morning session, 17 individuals in the afternoon (some stayed all day!), and support came in the form of 5 set-up volunteers. Organizations represented included but were not limited to:
PHW Ft. Belvoir, PHW Quantico , PHW Fort Meade, PHW DC, PHW Walter Reed, PHW La Plata, PHW Fredericksburg, PHW Richmond, Trout Unlimited – National Capital Chapter, Trout Unlimited – Fredericksburg, Trout Unlimited – Rapidan, Local United States Marines, and Local volunteers and Veterans
The scenery in the museum makes for a great backdrop for any activity, especially one that benefits PHW participants and programs around the country. However, it also serves as a sobering reminder of the conflicts that the United States Marines have participated in, and sacrificed in.
A centerpiece of the Leatherneck Gallery, this diorama depicts a Sikorsky UH-34D helicopter with Marines heading for cover as they exit the helicopter during Operation Starlite in 1965, the first major offensive of the Vietnam War.
At the corner of the space is a diorama from World War II, as an LVT-1 amphibious tractor breaches the defensive log wall on the Pacific island of Tarawa. Marines landed on Tarawa as part of Operation Galvanic, the U.S. invasion of the Gilberts.
The variety of flies tied was outstanding: from mice to midges to mop flies, caddis to Copper Johns to chironomids, and just about everything in between.
Participants and volunteers were provided lunch, and a handful of extra meals were donated to museum staff and the Marine Corps Military Police on duty that day. Around 5pm, the volunteers began cleaning up and counting flies to determine the day’s haul.
In total, the event resulted in 2,643 flies to be sent to PHW participants around the country. The event was coordinated by Chris Thompson, North Carolina Regional Coordinator and Camp Lejeune Program Lead. Local volunteers from the National Capital Region were essential in running the event including Larry Braswell, Paul Blayney, Todd Wendt, Dave Borostyan, Tim Metzger, Curt Boatman, William Heresniak, Steve Powell, and Marty Laksbergs.
PHW is grateful to the staff of the National Museum of the Marine Corps for supporting the event in so many ways, as well as providing the continued opportunity to hold the Fly Tying Marathon in such a meaningful location.