MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Marines and sailors filled the Sunset Cinema Theater and Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Gray Field for a visit from the Commandant and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Oct. 17, 2011.
Gen. James F. Amos, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, took the microphone first and talked about the importance of the Combat Center.
“The Combat Center is home plate for the Marine Corps, because it doesn’t matter if you are east or west coast or in Japan, we all come here to train,” Amos said.
He then went on to talk about the Marine Corps’ upcoming birthday.
“Our birthday is coming up and no other service celebrates its birthday like we do,” Amos said. “Other services are done with their ball by 9 p.m. We are lucky if we are done by 9 a.m. the next day,” he said, jokingly.
Before passing the microphone to the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Micheal P. Barrett, Amos told a story of a question he answered to a reporter. He was asked if this was the worst of times to be in the Marine Corps and Amos’ response was,
“This is the best of times to be a Marine because we are doing the things that attracted you to go through boot camp,” he said, speaking directly to his Combat Center audience.
Once Barrett took the stage, he made sure the Marines all knew what they each meant to him personally, ensuring them the highest levels of command have the Marines’ best interest at heart.
“I don’t need to know anything else about you,” Barrett said. “Ninety percent of you joined after 9/11. You could have chosen to do anything else with your life, but you chose to serve your country. There is nothing more honorable or nobler profession than to serve the country in this capacity.”
At the end of their speeches to thousands of Marines and sailors during the day, they answered questions. The Marines asked how they were going to be affected by upcoming budget cuts, and what the impact to promotions and re-enlisting will be with the upcoming drawdown.
“It’s great that he comes out here to talk with us and answer our questions,” said Staff Sgt. Ryan M. Korth, a student with the Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School.
As Amos and Barrett said their farewells to the Marines in the theater and at the field, they stressed how proud they are to be serving the Marines and how thankful they are for all the sacrifices the Marines and their families make.
The group also visited Camp Wilson.