“The Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Hagee, visited Camp Blessing.” — Source: 3/3 Command Chronology for the Period 01 July to 31 December 2004
USMC Commandant visits Marines in Afghanistan
By Cpl. Rich Mattingly
3rd Bn., 3rd Marine Rgt.
CAMP BLESSING, Afghanistan – The 33rd Commandant of the Marine Corps and the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps visited the Marines and Sailors of 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines Regiment operating in support of Operation Enduring Freedom just before Christmas.
Gen. Michael Hagee and Sgt. Maj. John Estrada congratulated the troops for their dedication to duty at the forward edge of the battle area.
“The American people know what a good job you’re doing here,” said Hagee, hands on his hips surveying the crowd. “And we know what a good job you’re doing here, too.”
Estrada echoed the sentiments of the commandant and assured the troops that they were making a difference by being in the fight.
“Stay vigilant. You’re doing important things here and you must always remember that you are a Marine,’ said Estrada.
The senior enlisted man and the commandant then took questions from the gathered Marines and Sailors who were eager to ask about future deployments, even as they were still in the first few months of their current deployment.
“It was exciting to get to see the commandant and sergeant major” said Lance Cpl. Tim Davis, rifleman with India Company, 3rd Bn., 3rd Marines. “We asked him about maybe going to Iraq. A lot of guys are interested in going where a lot of our friends have gone.”
After answering the Marines’ questions and passing out coins, the heads of the Marine Corps took time to take pictures with all of the Marines.
“Meeting the ‘boss’ got me totally pumped up,” said Lance Cpl. James O’Brien, team leader with India Co. “Getting to meet him before we went out [for operations] in the Korangal Valley was motivating.”