Story by Staff Sgt. Lynn Kinney
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – The 37th Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Robert Neller, visited Marines with I Marine Expeditionary Force during his visit to Camp Pendleton Oct. 5, 2015.
Gen. Neller spoke to elements of the 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Logistics Group and the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, discussing information about the future of the Corps and answering questions the Marines had about policies, to include tattoo regulations, individual leadership and future operations.
“As Marines we are going to set the best example that we can,” he said. “We are going to make sure we take care of the gear we have and take care of the Marines we have.”
Gen. Neller, who succeeded Gen. Joseph Dunford, stressed the importance of constantly improving as leaders and reminded the Marines to take time out of their day to get to know their junior Marines and address any concerns and issues they might have.
“Whenever you have a chance sit down with your Marines, get to know them, be a leader,” he said. “I believe in a firm, but fair leadership style and that Marines should always be treated with dignity and respect.”
He also spoke about what leadership should expect from their Marines.
“Marines should always give 100 percent to the mission,” said the 40-year Marine. “We should always seek to overcome adversity looking for solutions to our problems and never run away.”
The Marines expressed their gratitude that the Commandant would take time to come address any concerns they had.
“It meant a lot for Gen. Neller to come out and visit our unit. This was my first opportunity to listen to what the Commandant had planned for the Marine Corps,” said Lance Cpl. Karen Lopezvillareal, a personnel administration specialist with I MEF Headquarters Group. “I took away the expectations the Commandant had for me as a junior Marine and the expectations I should have of my leadership.”
A veteran of conflicts in Panama, Somalia and Iraq, Neller reminded the Marines of the importance of being combat ready, staying physically and mentally fit, and prepared for future conflicts and operations.
“As the nation’s crisis response force and force-in-readiness, Marines remain forward deployed, ready to fight and win,” he said. “However, we cannot rest on our past successes and our current efforts because our nation’s enemies are continuously adapting.”
The Commandant concluded his speech by thanking the Marines for their hard work and service.
“Our strength is the talent, skill and discipline of our Marines and Sailors,” he said. “Today we are ready and capable because of patriotic Americans who are willing to step forward and take on the challenge of being a Marine.”