News: CMC, SMMC visit Camp Leatherneck Marines, sailors
Story by Cpl. Lia Adkins
CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan - Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Michael P. Barrett visited with Marines and sailors aboard Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, June 19.
The visit was centered on keeping service members informed about various current events outside Afghanistan and within the Marine Corps. During the trip, Amos and Barrett visited Marines with Regimental Combat Team 7, Combat Logistics Regiment 2, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) and the Afghan National Army 215th Corps Security Force Assistance Advisor Teams during their tour.
Amos focused on the progress coalition forces have made in Afghanistan and how the Marines play a large role in the mission, just as they did in Iraq. He said when he talks to younger Marines most of them have never seen Iraq.
“They just hear the stories,” said Amos. “Some of those towns we fought very hard for in Iraq. As the fighting stopped and the transition took place it was like a light switch went out. I remind everyone, ‘When was the last time you saw places such as Ramadi or Fallujah in the news?’”
Amos recalled how some of the Marines, who had played a part in the Iraq mission, had given so much that they couldn’t stand to see it fail. He said Marines serving in Afghanistan would feel the same when their mission here is over, but they all still had a job to finish.
“You need to know how you fit in here,” he said, addressing the Marines and sailors. “I couldn’t be more proud of you. We are right where we need to be, but we have to finish this mission.”
Barrett expressed his gratitude to the Marines, citing how American forces were making history.
“We have fought the longest war in our nation’s history,” said Barrett, referring to the war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan. “And for the first time … we are an all-volunteer force. So we thank you, for your unselfishness and devotion. You could have chosen to do anything else with your life and instead you chose to serve and to wear this cloth.”
Amos and Barrett stressed that although Marines will be out of Afghanistan soon, there may be no time for relaxing back at their home stations.
“We may think, as a country, that we are done with all the nasty, messy lands of our world, but they are not done with us,” said Amos. “There is no shortage of work for us.”
When it was time for the service members to ask questions, many had concerns about the effects sequestration will have on equipment and personnel. Amos and Barrett reassured Marines they would have everything they need and the Corps’ budget is under control.
“What you forget sometimes is that we work for you,” said Barrett, addressing a group of noncommissioned officers. “We are here to make sure you are taken care of.”