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

laguna hills' support group for marine battalion 3/5

Team Darkhorse Copyright 2016. All rights reserved. Privacy policy

I became a member of Team Darkhorse in 2012. I became interested in joining this dynamic organization after I listened to a presentation from Team Dark Horse to the Laguna Hills City Council. The enthusiasm of the team and support of the council was instrumental in me joining the organization. As a returning Viet Nam veteran, I can remember how some of our citizens showed little or no respect for our returning veterans and families. A society needs to honor the service of our Marines (Military) and veterans and show the respect they have earned and deserve. A Marine is trained and adapts to critical situations. Also, it is difficult for the family to adapt when the Marine is on deployment. Although Camp Pendleton has support groups for families in which the Marine is deployed, we as a voluntary group of citizens do our part in collection of gifts for the annual Christmas party, baby showers, ball gown drive, working with the city to celebrate Independence Day, and honoring the fallen and Gold Star families on Memorial Day.  This is Team Darkhorse.

owen litfin

Board Member

 I grew up in a small town in southwest Minnesota, in a family of six. My father served in the U.S. Navy, my two brothers served in the U.S. Army, and my sister is married to a retired U.S. Naval officer.
 I joined the U.S. Marine Corp in 1963 and served through 1966. I was a member of a Marine Rifle Platoon. My assigned duty stations included Camp Pendleton, San Mateo area (current home of 3rd Battalion/5th Marine Regiment), Hawaii, Okinawa, Viet Nam, and San Diego.

After my Military service, I moved back to Minnesota. In 1979, via company transfer (Manufacturing Operations) my wife Karen, son and I moved to Laguna Hills. Karen and I have been residents of Laguna Hills/Orange County for 35 years. Our son is a graduate of Laguna Hills H.S.; and our son, daughter- in- law and granddaughter are residents of Orange County.

learn more

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

NPR piece on the Sangin Deployment:

Sign Up for our Newsletter!

* required




Email & Social Media Marketing by VerticalResponse

Being able to help Marines and actually see the direct response and appreciation from them is very rewarding. Even though I do not have a military background, my deep respect for those who serve our country is my purpose for volunteering.

bob dickson


I chose to serve on the 3/5 Marine committee when Mike Bland asked me to help. I am a CPA and was able to advise on numerous tax matters including obtaining the non-profit tax status (501(c)(3) and preparing the books and records. I am able to volunteer using my knowledge to help this very worthy cause.

Working with Team Darkhorse has been gratifying. It is heartening to witness the difference that we are making in the lives of many young Marines and their families.  I am proud of the City of Laguna Hills for adopting our Darkhorse Battalion and feel honored and privileged to serve on Team Darkhorse.  

Evan Gost

Board member

My wife and I moved to Laguna Hills in 1992. We have two adult children and two grandchildren-- all living nearby. My military service included 8 years of active duty and an additional 12 years of service in the US Navy Reserves eventually retiring at the rank of Commander.  I feel grateful to the U.S. Navy for sponsoring my college education (NROTC scholarship) and flight training as well as providing valuable leadership experience. My civilian work included flying as an airline pilot, working as a  real estate broker and instructing seminars.   

As a Navy pilot, I flew transport missions in and out of Viet Nam. Unlike the 58,220 who paid the ultimate sacrifice and the more than 300,000 who were wounded in that war, I survived without any scars of battle. That is one of the reasons that I feel compelled to try to comfort the wounded veterans and Gold Star families.

I became involved with the Team Dark Horse adoption committee soon after the city of Laguna Hills adopted the 3d Battalion, Fifth Marines (3/5) in 2007, and joined the Board when Mike Bland took over as Chairman.  It has been most encouraging to see how the relationship between city residents and our 3/5 Marines has developed over the years. This is especially evident at the events that take place each year at the community center - Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. The interaction that takes place between the Marines and the public is unique. A recent posting in the National Review Online stated only 0.6% of Americans are in uniform at any one time. These events give our citizens the opportunity to thank the young Marines and Sailors who are ready to make great sacrifices for our nation

dick nagel


My wife Mary and I have lived in Lagun Hills since 1980. We have been married 39 years and have two adult children who graduated from Laguna Hills HS and now live out of state. My father was a career Navy man which meant the family lived in five states and Washington DC during my first 18 years. I was commissioned as a 2nd Lt in the Marine Corps the very same day I graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1965.  After spending five years on active duty, including 13 months in Viet Nam, I retired from the USMC as a Captain, and went on to complete a Masters Degree in Public Administration.  I worked in human resources for the County of Orange and the University of California-Irvine Medical Center until retirement in 2007. I have been an active member of Christ Community Church of Laguna Hills for more than 30 years.  Currently I am in my first term as an appointed member of the City of Laguna Hills Parks & Recreation Committee.

Jack served two combat tours; in ’06 to  Korenghal Valley, Afghanistan and in ’07 to Al Anbar Province (Ramadi), Iraq.   He and we were fortunate.   He came home safely and stronger than when he left.     We remain keenly aware of the many who did not.

Gratitude for his safety, respect for all those enlisted, and empathy for the families who serve along with their loved ones, through numerous personal sacrifices and sometimes of the most heartbreaking kind, is what compelled me to join our city support Committee for Battalion 3/5.  

 What time I have given has come back to me tenfold in the reward of getting to look into the faces of young Marines and their families, who expect nothing and so appreciate everything.     This, and a passion for our ongoing mission to remember and honor the 25 Marines who died while fighting Taliban in Sangin, Afghanistan between September 2010 and March 2011, is why I serve on Team Dark Horse

Karen Robbins


In 1996, my husband and I moved to Laguna Hills from Santa Fe, New Mexico with  our children  Jack, Dean  and  Alice, then 16, 14 and 10 years of age.  Previous to Santa Fe, we lived in La Canada, California.  

 In the fall of 2004, following his graduation from University of Arizona and while working for a mortgage bank, our son Jack applied, was accepted and graduated from USMC Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia.  He accepted his Commission as a 2nd Lieutenant, completed The Basic School, and then completed and passed the grueling Infantry Officer Course, earning him the MOS (Military Occupation Specialty) of Rifle Platoon Commander.