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Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., talks with Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan Pea, hospital corpsman, II Marine Headquarters Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force, during the general’s visit to the Combat Center April 11, 2012. Pena is training to deploy as a member of an advisor team that will prepare members of the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police to keep the peace after the troop draw down.

Photo by Sgt. Heather Golden

Asst. CMC visits, reviews training

13 Apr 2012 | Sgt. Heather Golden

The Advisor Training Group got some personal eyes-on time from very high places when Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., spent his limited time at the Combat Center, reviewing their training tactics April 11, 2012.

Dunford, the 32nd ACMC, is making his rounds across the United States to get a first-hand knowledge of what Marines are doing, where resources are needed the most and how to best prioritize the Corps’ assets.

ATG is responsible for making sure Marines and sailors in advisor training teams, from “lance corporals to colonels,” know how to train the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police.

He sat in on a key leader engagement meeting and observed a team of Marines and Afghan role players acting as ANP forces training to be advisors to patrol and react to an attack. Dunford also aerially toured the installation, and took a look at military construction projects.

This is the first time Dunford has had the opportunity to observe ATG training since he assumed the role of the ACMC in October 2010. 

As the Corps begins to draw down its forces in Afghanistan, the main effort for Marines will be these advisor training teams. Visits like these help ensure the Corps is poised, from a headquarters perspective, to support Marines going into theater with the best equipment and training possible.

“The thing we are going to do is focus all of our training on Afghanistan out here now. As we look to rebalance both to the Pacific and elsewhere, we’ll modify the training to meet those future challenges,” Dunford said.

Dunford also said he was looking for what the units training here are doing well and what may need to change.

“The biggest takeaway is the extraordinary work the team is doing out here to prepare our Marines, not only for Afghanistan, but for all the challenges we are going to have after Afghanistan,” Dunford said.

Next on the schedule for Dunford’s California tour are visits to Wounded Warriors, a speaking engagement with the Hoover Fellows at Stanford, and to be the guest of honor at an Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom commemoration ceremony at the Marines Memorial Club.


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