MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Marine Corps Commandant Gen.
Joseph F. Dunford, Jr. visited Marines and Sailors of the Ground Combat Element
Integrated Task Force at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Feb.
Col. Matthew G. St. Clair, GCEITF commanding
officer, Sgt. Maj. Robin C. Fortner, GCEITF sergeant major, and GCEITF staff
and company officers, briefed the commandant on past training events the Task
Force has conducted thus far, and discussed the upcoming assessment that will
take place at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Marine
Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center Bridgeport, and Marine Corps Base Camp
Shortly after the brief concluded, the commandant
and GCEITF leadership traveled to GP 13 to observe artillery Marines conduct
live-fire training during their final field exercise in preparation for their
“I came down today because what you all are doing is
important to the Marine Corps,” said Dunford, as he addressed artillery Marines
before they conducted a fire mission.
the commandant was speaking to Marines of Gun Four, “fire mission” was heard
over the radio. Marines quickly suited up in flak and Kevlar and fired three
rounds downrange as the commandant watched closely.
“It was nice to have the boss come out here and see
what we’re doing, and actually come out on the gun line while we’re shooting a
mission,” said Sgt. Brandon L. Rodriguez, section chief with Battery A, GCEITF.
“It was a pleasant visit. We got good information from him; he gave of us a
scope of what’s going on in the Marine Corps, so it gave us more knowledge
about what is going on. It felt good.”
The commandant stopped at all four guns, and in
between fire missions, he talked to the Marines and emphasized that what they
are doing at the GCEITF is bigger than themselves.
“You’re putting rounds downrange, you’re getting
ready to go to Twentynine Palms, you’re getting ready to do what Marines do,”
said Dunford. “I’d expect you to be motivated, but it’s pretty clear that you
are, but again I want to thank you not only for what you do every day, but also
for helping us make some pretty tough decisions and to make the Marine Corps
better. You’re part of something that is going to make the Marine Corps better,
and not everyone can say that every day, but you all can.”
Prior to departing Camp Lejeune, the commandant
ensured he met with infantry Marines of Company A and Weapons Company during
their dry-runs of squad attacks, and acknowledged their efforts in the task
“For those of you who volunteered and those of you
who didn’t, I appreciate what you’re doing,” Dunford said. “I just want you to
know that what you’re doing is you’re making it happen. It is my responsibility
to make it matter, and I’ll uphold my end of the bargain. You’re upholding your
end of the bargain. You’re providing me with the data, the information, and the
facts that are going to allow a decision to be made. My commitment to you in
return for all the hard work, effort, and sweat over the next couple months is
I’m going to make sure it matters to the institution.”
October 2014 to July 2015, the GCEITF will conduct individual and collective
level skills training in designated ground combat arms occupational specialties
in order to facilitate the standards based assessment of the physical
performance of Marines in a simulated operating environment performing specific
ground combat arms tasks.