Thursday, December 25, 2008

Commandant makes holiday visit to Marines, sailors in Afghanistan

Story by Lance Cpl. Monty Burton

HELMAND PROVINCE, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan – General James T. Conway, the 34th commandant of the Marine Corps, paid a special holiday visit to his deployed troops Dec. 24, 2008, in the Helmand province of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

Conway and Sgt. Maj. Carlton W. Kent, the 16th sergeant major of the Marine Corps, visited Camp Barber and Forward Operating Bases Bakwa and Delaram to speak with the Marines of 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, and Combat Logistics Battalion 3, the ground combat and logistics combat elements of Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force – Afghanistan.

During his visits, Conway had the opportunity to see three Marines extend their Marine Corps careers.

Re-enlisting Marines Sgt. Walter F. Meredith, Cpl. Eric M. Shaufler and Sgt. Herbert T. Barber III, reaffirmed their oaths with Conway Dec. 23 at Camp Barber.

During their visit, Conway and Kent took the time to talk to the Marines while opening the floor for questions.

“You are living up to the legacy of the Marines that came before you,” Kent told the Marines. “The seventh sergeant major of the Marine Corps, Hank Black, who is nearly 90 years old, still keeps up with the Marines today. He told me to tell you that he was proud of you and everything you do.

“No matter how long you serve, you will always be able to carry the Eagle, the Globe and the Anchor with you,” Kent said, referring to the Corps’ emblem and the spirit of the Marine Corps.

Conway gave the Marines some patriotic and encouraging words during the visit.

“Your country knows that you are over here, and your country supports you in all the good things that you do out here,” he said. “All of us joined the Marine Corps knowing that one day we would probably see some combat because that is what we do. That is our heritage.”
While at FOB Delaram, Conway got the chance to eat lunch with a few Marines from Company K, 3/8.

Lance Cpl. William Maykrants, a rifleman with Co. K, said it was a very exciting experience to eat a meal with the commandant.

“It was really motivating and definitely a morale booster,” he said. “We got to talk about some of the different things that happen out here.”

Before departing, Conway had a few last words for all the Marines.

“We are extremely proud of you for you service and extremely proud to call you United States Marines.”
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