CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti --
U.S. Marine Corps leadership visited the Marines of Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, at an all-call Dec. 28, 2012, to deliver a holiday message and emphasize the important role each Marine plays in Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa’s mission of promoting security throughout the region.
The 35th commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos, his wife Bonnie Amos, the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Micheal P. Barrett, and other members of the commandant’s staff met with CJTF-HOA Marines and thanked them for their service to our country.
“The purpose of coming here is solely to see you,” the commandant said. “The world’s a tough place right now… There’s a lot of people who count on us to provide some sense of stability and sense of rule of law – that’s what we do. So I am proud of you and wanted to wish every one of you a belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.”
The commandant recalled one of his favorite Christmases spent with members of his Marine family in Afghanistan, saying it was his best Christmas ever. He spoke about the sacrifices service members have made and the success and forward progress he has seen in his four decades of service.
“So that’s why we are here,” General Amos continued. “We have naval forces, Marines, Navy, our Air Force brothers, our Army brothers and sisters … and if it wasn’t us who would it be? You can’t turn your back on it. It’s too important. What you do here is important, and that’s how you fit in.”
Prior to his arrival in East Africa, the commandant spent Christmas with Marines and other troops in Afghanistan followed by a stop aboard the USS Peleliu to visit the Marines and sailors of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group. This particular trip was unique because it was the first time since General Amos became the commandant that his wife of 42 years accompanied him to visit the troops - something she had wanted to do for a long time.
Mrs. Amos said she was thrilled to be able to spend the holidays with deployed Marines and took the opportunity to express her thanks for their service and sacrifices.
“Your family members, your friends, your neighbors would rather have you under their Christmas tree than here, but the mission you are doing is vitally important for the sake of our nation,” she said. “You do it for the sake of our nation, the sake of our Corps. You do it for my family, your family, and you do it for each other.”
She said she represents their loved ones and families back home and extended their love and gratitude, encouraging all the Marines to keep in touch with family and friends this holiday season.
Along with the Amoses, the sergeant major also spoke with the Marines and answered questions. He thanked the troops for all that they do and expressed how proud he was to wear the uniform alongside them.
“You could’ve done anything you wanted in your life, but you chose to put on the uniform and protect the nation, protect the people, protect an idea,” Barrett said. “To be here at this place right now is humbling, and I am blown away I get to wear the same uniform as you.”
The sergeant major ended the all-call with some words of advice regarding professional development and promotion outlooks for the future. General Amos and his command team thanked the Marines for their service and wished them all the best in 2013.