team dark horse

laguna hills' support group for marine battalion 3/5

be part of us!

oo-rah corner

So many ways to give

Team Dark Horse is a 501(c)(3)non-profit (ID # 27-4526336).  We run a tight ship, so please know that 100% of your donations will go directly to the support of Marine Battalion 3/5 and its families.

We have many volunteer opportunities!  Click here for more info.

Many thanks to the organizations and businesses that helped us with our annual Toy Drive.  By sponsoring a donation box or by providing gifts, they show their support of our 3/5 Marines.  You can give them your thanks whenever you visit:

  • Heidelberg Pastry Shop
  • Farmers & Merchant Bank Laguna Hills
  • Big Bad Wolfe Ironworks
  • Nellie Gail Homeowners Association
  • Florence Sylvester Community Center
  • Laguna Hills Mall
  • City of Laguna Hills (Community Center and City Hall
  • Orange County Woodworkers Association
  • Hills' Angels

If your business is interested in participating with TDH in any way, please contact us at

Alex Gillespie, a Laguna Hills High School junior successfully established Teen Darkhorse as an official school club during Club rush in October.   She had to sign up a minimum of 10 students, per school rules.  Alex’s enthusiasm for Team Dark Horse inspired 40 (!) Hawks to sign up.

Two of the students who joined Teen Dark Horse shared what motivated them to get involved.  Alex Zoch says “I joined Teen Dark Horse because I’m hoping to make a difference and show the Marines how thankful I am for the freedom they fight for.”  Hannah Milligan joined because “I think it’s a great club with a great mission.  I’m looking forward to making the Marines feel welcomed home and thank them for their amazing service.”

Club founder Alex and mother, Vanessa Kon, wasted no time in leading the club during their first activity - making decorations that were hung from the door knobs in the single Marines barracks when they arrived home from deployment.  They made muffins and wrote letters of gratitude that were given to the Marines.  The high schoolers are looking forward to interacting with the Marines and building bonds that will generate goodwill for years to come.

learn more

3rd Battalion, 5th Marine, 1st Division - official USMC site:

NPR piece on the Sangin Deployment:

501(C)(3) ID# 27-4526336

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welcome teen dark horse!

home for the holidays


support tdh with your ralphs rewards card!

So easy to do!  Whenever you shop at Ralphs, you can support Team Dark Horse by registering your Ralphs card online at  All the information you need is


As part of their commitment to supporting the San Diego regional military community, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) announced the launch of the 2014 SDG&E Military and Veterans Giving Initiative.  Local organizations were invited to apply to receive grants through the initiative that would support their work.  Karen Robbins, TDH Chair, submitted an application and was thrilled to announce that SDG&E approved the application and awarded Team Dark Horse $5,000.  In the words of Duane Cave of SDG&E, “…$5,000 in support of programs and services for Marines and families of the fallen, spouses and children.”  New TDH member, retired Marine (and veteran of the Sangin deployment), Raymond Orozco, has agreed to assist the committee in overseeing how the funds will be distributed.  Thank you SDG&E!

Our Marines arrived home from deployment just in time for the holidays.  Team Dark Horse members made a point to be at Camp Pendleton to join families and friends in welcoming them home. 

Within days our annual Toy Drive went into full force, resulting in tons of toys for the children of 3/5 Marines. 

It all culminated in a festive holiday party within weeks of the homecoming.  Watching it all gave us an opportunity to grasp what it means to have a longed-for love one home to celebrate all that is good. 

Duane Cave, Regional Public Affairs  Manager for SDG&E presents Chairman Karen Robbins and TDH members with a $5,000 check.

Welcome Home Carlos Garcia!

Team Dark Horse recently celebrated another homecoming. Retired Corporal Carlos Garcia received the keys to his newly built home on December 16th.  Carlos, who was Grand Marshall of the 2014 Laguna Hills Memorial Day race, lost both of his legs while serving with 3/5 in Afghanistan.  Both Carlos and his wife Jackie have magnetic smiles that captivated the hearts of all who attended the Memorial Day event.

The Garcias’ home was built by Homes for Our Troops on a two-acre parcel in Murrieta, California. Corporations such as Kohler, Magtag, Certainteed and a local building firm contributed to the effort to provide a single-level custom home with adaptive features such as doors that open automatically, wheel chair-accessible cabinetry and doorways, a huge roll-in shower and level entries and door jambs.  
The ribbon cutting ceremony attracted a crowd of about 200, including other wounded warriors, representatives of veterans’ associations, family, neighbors and three Team Dark Horse members, Owen Litfin, Dick Nagel and Evan Gost   The crowd lined the drive, cheering and waving American flags when Carlos and Jackie arrived.

A professional chorus performed the National Anthem.  Several representatives of veterans’ groups and of vendors who contributed to the building of the home spoke briefly.  Retired General Tim McHale, the President of Homes for Our Troops, paid tribute to Carlos and Jackie as he welcomed them to their new home. There were many emotional moments as Carlos and Jackie thanked everyone and explained how living in this new home would change their lives.

As the choir sang America the Beautiful, Carlos raised an American flag on the pole near the home’s entrance, then wheeled to the entrance for the ribbon cutting.  He held his three-year old daughter, Isabel, as she cut the ribbon.  Carlos accepted the keys to the home and family members attending the ceremony were given private time to enjoy the first viewing of the newly completed home.  The other attendees were then invited to walk through and view the unique features of this custom home.
The homecoming was made even more special, as Jackie and Carlos welcomed a son, Andrew, on November 26.   Now, the new home will provide a fitting environment for this deserving young hero to raise his family.  The TDH members felt honored and privileged to attend this heart-warming ceremony.

TDH Remembers a Special Member

Sioux, a Miniature Horse whose appearance and character inspired the logo for TDH, has died.  Sioux embodied the spirit of the Marines TDH supports – he was feisty, determined and independent.  Originally dumped by his breeder because he was too big to be a true Miniature Horse, Sioux was then rescued from a dealer who sold horses by the pound.  In his youth Sioux was muscular and sported a luxurious black mane and massive tail that grew longer than he was tall.  He was full of spirit and spent much of his time herding larger horses boarded on the property of the family who rescued him until he was adopted by Mike Bland (TDH’s “Founding Father”) and his wife, Jean.

Despite his headstrong nature, Sioux was intelligent, intuitive, and unusually independent for a horse.  He was much loved and respected by the Blands and lived to be 25 years old. His appearance and personality inspired Jean to use him as the model for her drawing of the Team Dark Horse logo that appears on all of the group’s banners, t-shirts, hats, etc.  Team Dark Horse has lost our mascot, but Sioux will be remembered every time we see his stunning silhouette.