A squadbay is sometimes referred to as a barracks. It is the housing unit for Marine Corps Infantrymen. In its simplest form it is a large rectangular structure that houses a platoon of Marines. Sociologically, the Squadbay comes to represent a safe and sacred social space for the Marines housed there. It is the place to share their most intimate insecurities with their brothers. It is where they started their initial training in boot camp and where they came home to after war. It is a collective housing unit with a collective consciousness. The men living their adhere to a certain code; someone is always on watch, you are never alone and someone is always in charge. It is their base of operations.
Our vision is to establish a Squadbay for each specific unit in the military. This will provide a base of operations for a seamless transition from military to civilian life by providing the Veteran with a mission, resources and a housing area as soon as s/he is discharged. Squadbay will serve as a Veteran’s first and primary stop after discharge, as well as a liaison between the Veteran and the VA. At their Squadbay, Marines can combat the stresses of the world, receive free health services and plan humanitarian aid operations.
This gives the veteran the option to not depend on the VA for all of their needs and would provide the VA with much needed relief to their overwhelming workload. Each Squadbay location will serve as the headquarters for humanitarian aid missions. Volunteers will be dispersed throughout established geographic regions of the United States, each representing a specific Squadbay unit. Missions would be continuous throughout the world, providing a positive change to people in need while simultaneously healing the Veteran volunteers.
On our humanitarian aid missions we deploy resources and personnel to assist the people in impoverished nations by improving the quality of their daily lives and telling their stories to the world. By being proactive in regions where America’s popularity rating is low, SB reduces the amount of perceived and legitimate grievances our enemies can use to support their anti-American ideology.
These missions would allow veterans the ability to continue using their combat training in a new environment with a new mission which imitates the moral and ethical community of their military experience, creating a seamless transition to civilian life.
By providing a safe and sacred social space for combat Veterans to congregate, we will be allowing the Veterans the opportunity to work through any issues brought on by experiencing combat. We will also provide the Veteran with the opportunity to embark on humanitarian aid missions to utilize military related skills in a positive life changing scenario.
In October of 2012 Squadbay Founder, Lu Lobello, located the Kachadoorian women. He had met them almost a decade earlier when his squad pulled them to safety from their bullet ridden convoy caught in the middle of a deadly ambush. Lobello’s company, Fox 2/23, a reserve unit comprised of Marines recruited from Las Vegas and Salt Lake City, affectionately given the moniker "The Sinners and The Saints,” were conducting an urban patrol through the congested city streets of Baghdad when their company radio man, Vidana, was shot through the head. They started taking heavy fire, RPGs, and mortar rounds. As Lobello’s company was repelling the enemy’s assault and collecting their casualties, the Kachadoorians were fleeing their home hoping to avoid the invading forces by escaping to a brother’s house. While enroute they received a phone call from him telling them, "turn around," there was a battle ensuing outside his front door. They immediately turned around and attempted to get back home, when they drove into the crossfire between Lobello’s company and the Iraqi forces ambushing them.
Margaret Kachadoorian jumped from the Mercedes screaming "We are the peace people, we are the peace people." She had been an English teacher in Iraq. Her husband James and two sons, Edmond and Nicolas lay dead. Margaret and her daughter Nora were the only survivors, Nora was the same age as many of the young Marines. Her shoulder was profusely bleeding from shrapnel. The Marines were taking so much fire and evacuating so many wounded that a neighbor had to drive her to the hospital. For Lobello, the day would come to represent all that war had to offer: the tragedy, the triumph and the sacrifice. His company, The Sinners and The Saints, shot the same people they had now rescued.
Years later, after realizing some of his comrades were losing faith in all they held holy before that day, Lobello set off on what he thought would be his final mission; finding the Kachadoorians. Utilizing the lessons he learned in the Marine Corps and as a Sociologist he located the family and they were only a few hours away. Read the full story here.
It was due to this meeting with the Kachadoorians that Lobello discovered the importance of having a mission after returning home from combat. In an effort to provide other Marines the same opportunity of accomplishing a positive life-changing mission, Lobello called to action several of his Marine brothers; starting an organization dedicated to serving Marine combat Veterans needing to process traumatic experiences while simultaneously affecting a positive change in the lives of those in need of humanitarian assistance.
In November 2013, Squadbay embarked on its first mission to the Philippines after Typhoon Yolanda devastated the region. Assistance was given in the form of cash, food, medical supplies, building supplies, fishing supplies and overall positivity being spread to the people of the area. Squadbay’s next mission will be to deploy more Marine combat Veterans to Guatemala in an effort to bring aid to needy people and to team up with media professionals to help tell the stories of the Guatemalan people.
To deploy combat Veterans, alongside media professionals, on humanitarian aid missions while providing a housing unit to plan operations and process comb
To deploy combat Veterans, alongside media professionals, on humanitarian aid missions while providing a housing unit to plan operations and process combat exposure.