News: CMC, SMMC spend Christmas with servicemembers in Afghanistan
Story by Master Sgt. Brenda Varnadore
HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos, Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Micheal P. Barrett and the First Lady of the Marine Corps Bonnie Amos spent four days during Christmas visiting servicemembers throughout Helmand province, Afghanistan, Dec. 23 through 26.
Also on the trip was Lt. Gen. Richard Tryon, Deputy Commandant for Plans, Policies and Operations, and Lt. Gen. William Faulkner, Deputy Commandant for Installations and Logistics.
The official party visited servicemembers deployed to forward operating bases and combat outposts throughout Regional Command Southwest’s area of operations to include Leatherneck, Payne, Geronimo, Hanson, Sabit Qadam, Kajaki and Musa Qal’ah, just to wish them a Merry Christmas.
“General George Washington chose to cross the Delaware River, Dec. 25, 1776,” said Sgt. Maj. Barrett. “Here we are 276 years later on Christmas still at it. I am humbled to be standing here with you. There is nothing more honorable or noble than to serve your nation.”
Mrs. Amos told the servicemembers how she has been asking her husband to let her come for the last four years and her “nag campaign” finally payed off.
“My Christmas dream has come true,” said Mrs. Amos. “The lens I am looking through is vast. I am looking through it for each one of your loved ones back home. They would love to be able to see what I am seeing now. I wanted to tell each and every one of you Merry Christmas on behalf of your families back home. Christmas is about family, and you are all my family.”
The commandant also told the servicemembers how proud he was of the progress that has been made in the Helmand province.
“I have been in and out of here for four years,” said Gen. Amos to Marines outside Marjah. “(Third Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment) has been in and out of here for quite some time and it’s changing for the better. This battalion has spent a lot of blood in the Marjah area. This has been your neighborhood. You can see the improvements this place has made. We are going to leave this place under victory.”
After returning from traveling throughout the battlespace Christmas Day, Gen. Amos joined two other visitors to serve dinner to the servicemembers aboard Camp Leatherneck. Gen. John Allen, commander of International Security Assistance Force Afghanistan, and Gen. James Mattis, commander of U.S. Central Command, flew in for a few hours to visit with RC(SW) servicemembers.