Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, visited FOB Salerno. — Source: 3rd Battalion 3rd Marines Press Release
Joint Chiefs vice chairman visits Afghanistan
By Lance Cpl. Rich Mattingly
3rd Bn., 3rd Marine Rgt.
FORWARD OPERATING BASE SALERNO, Afghanistan – Amid the whirlwind first weeks of 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment’s deployment to Afghanistan, the Marines and Sailors of the battalion were welcomed here Nov. 21 by one of the highest-ranking Marines in their chain of command.
Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, visited FOB Salerno to personally give the joint task force operations here his seal of approval, as well as insure that America’s Battalion was ready to take the fight.
During a command and staff meeting, Pace was briefed on the specifics of 3rd Bn., 6th Marine Regiment’s activity over the last seven months in Afghanistan.
While operating in Afghanistan, 3/6 logged more than 2,000 combat patrols and countless humanitarian assistance projects exceeding 600 thousand dollars.
With the help of the Provincial Reconstruction Teams and their dedication to security and support operations, 3/6 was able to continue the Coalition’s campaign to stabilize Afghanistan and promote the first presidential election in the nation’s history.
“You should be leaving here with a feeling of enormous pride,” Pace said to 3/6’s command.
Pace expressed his firm belief that 3/3 would continue the positive trend and be instrumental in the success of the upcoming Afghan parliamentary elections.
Pace continued, saying he was envious of the Marines on the ground during this war. He expressed how pleased he was by their effectiveness in dealing with a difficult enemy in Afghanistan’s tactically challenging environment and how much better he could understand their situation after seeing it firsthand.
“I really appreciate the opportunity to get out here and see what you’re doing,” said Pace, while meeting with the command and staff of the battalions. “I wish I could be a platoon or company commander during this fight, but it makes a world of difference to be able to sit in front of congress and say, ‘I was there last week.'”
Pace spent the afternoon visiting with Marines, Sailors and Soldiers around the base, praising their hard work and dedication.
Meanwhile, the Marines of America’s Battalion were already standing post with their 3/6 counterparts in a “left seat, right seat” routine designed to familiarize 3/3 Marines with the operational environment they will soon take formal charge of.
Sergeant of the Guard, Kirk Pusey of Kingston, Jamaica, expressed how imperative it was for him that America’s Battalion starts off on a positive note.
“It’s important to be prepared and ready for this transfer of authority,” explained Pusey from his vantage point on the back of an up-armored vehicle during a tour of Salerno’s guard posts. “We’re the first people [Afghans] see when they come to this base, and we have to properly represent who we are and why we’re here.”
Pusey, usually a food service specialist at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, talked excitedly of getting the opportunity to make a difference for his family and for his country.
“I’m happy to be here and to be doing this,” he said, breaking into an easy smile. “We’re going to give the people of Afghanistan the opportunities they deserve, and we’re going to destroy our enemies.”