Camp Pendleton / News Stories

‘ReEntry’ – Play teaches Marines about returning home

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Marines and family members with I Marine Expeditionary Force gathered to watch a play at the South Mesa Club at Camp Pendleton, Calif., Jan. 24.

“ReEntry” is a play written by theater writer Emily Ackerman and KJ Sanchez, CEO of American Records, based on interviews conducted with Marines returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and their family members.

“I am a member of a military family,” Ackerman said. “I had no idea of a lot of the things they were going through, a lot of the things that they thought until we started working on this play. I try to be supportive and it was hard to figure out how to do that. It wasn’t until we started talking to a lot of Marines that I got a better idea of things that people actually go through, the way they actually feel and how to be more supportive.”

The play is intended to share various perspectives of Marines who returned from war and the emotional impact it can have on service members and their families.

“The theme of the day was what it is like to re-enter your family, your community, your town, and by sharing those experiences, how we can find proactive ways to deal with the issues and challenges that come up with returning from combat,” Sanchez said.

For new Marines the play is intended to help prepare them and encourage them to have a plan on how to deal with stressful experiences they may face when returning home from deployment.

“Sometimes it’s hard for a Marine to talk about what is going on with themselves, but if a character in a play can talk about it for them, then they can reference the character in the play,” Sanchez said.

Marines were given a chance to share their own thoughts about the play and provide feedback about their own personal experiences while transitioning back into life in garrison.

“As a clinician treating our returning Marines and sailors, I always want people to hear that there’s hope and that there is help available,” said Dawn Herring, marriage and family therapist with Counseling Services at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Service and family members wishing to seek help can contact a chaplain by calling (760) 725-9821 or Counseling Services by calling (760) 725-6269.

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