Photo Information

Tom Schaefer, a native of Arlington Heights, Ill., looks at the M16A4 service rifle as Staff Sgt. Javier Delatorre, platoon sargeant, 2nd Battalion 24th Marines, Chicago, explains the properties of the weapon at Arlington Park, Arlington Heights, Ill., May 15. There was a weapons and vehicle display as well as the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twenty-Nine Palms Jazz Ensemble.

Photo by Cpl. Jose Nava

Retired aviator opens park for Marine Week

16 May 2009 | Cpl. Jose Nava

Roy Arnold has been the president of Arlington Park race track since April 2006, but before he took the job, Arnold was the assistant commander of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif.

“I have never worked with people from the military and Arnold has a different managerial style,” said Laura Sutler, executive assistant, Arlington Park.

Arnold began his 30-year career in the Marine Corps after graduating State University of New York in Brockport, N.Y., and receiving a commission as a 2nd Lt. in 1976. After he completed The Basic School, Quantico, Va., Arnold became an infantry officer.

The Basic School is a six month course where all newly-commissioned Marine officers undergo training to prepare them for duty in the operating forces.

“In a lot of ways, operating a race track is a lot like being a commanding officer of a Marine unit,” said Arnold. “You are responsible for everything that happens and everything that does not happen.”

During his time in the Corps, Arnold also commanded the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, Okinawa, Japan, before becoming the assistant commander for the 3rd MAW.

A MEU is a Marine Air Ground Task Force that is made up of a reinforced infantry battalion, a reinforced helicopter squadron and a logistics support group. The MEU is forward deployed and can act instantly to crisis situations.

“It was probably the highlight of my career because I had a really good time and it was a great life experience to have that opportunity,” said Arnold.

Arnold believes the Marine Corps prepared him for his current job at Arlington Park.

“It is a joy to work with Arnold and it is really evident that he is an extremely structured person,” said Sutler.

Arnold opened the park and allowed for the Marines to practice the take-off and landing of two CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters and one MV-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft on Tuesday for Sunday’s scheduled demonstration at the park, which is scheduled to take place between 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

 “He was superb to work with as the only real restrictions we had were the real world restrictions,” said Lt. Col. Jon Smith, Arlington Park officer-in-charge for the Marines. “I look forward to working with him again.”

Throughout the weekend, the Marine Corps will have weapons and vehicle displays, at Arlington Park, along with an indoor simulated marksmanship trainer and the Twentynine Palms Jazz Ensemble.

“It is a good chance for the citizens of Chicago and the Midwest to interact with Marines and their equipment to see how we operate,” said Chicago native Cpl. Joseph Curtis, a machine gunner from the locally based 2nd Battalion 24th Marines, Chicago. “Some people come to me at work and said they saw helicopters and vehicles, and I have heard them say positive things.”

The method for concentrating our resources to gain public recognition and allow the public to focus on what the Marine Corps does is Marine Week, added Arnold.

In a large metropolitan area like Chicago, direct involvement in the community has a positive effect instead of just airing commercials, breaking through the daily routine and grabbing peoples’ attention, mentioned Arnold.

People were coming in and out of the clubhouse at Arlington Park, some of them leaving with a new and personal understanding of the Marine Corps.

“I think it is neat to see some of the things you guys work with out in the field and it is even better to meet you guys and thank you for what you do for us,” said Kirk Nall, an information technology professional, who was visiting Chicago from Missouri.

Marine Corps News

Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps