MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- Sgt. Maj. John L. Estrada, the 15th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, paid a special visit to the Marines and sailors from I Marine Expeditionary Force and members of the 11th and 13th Marine Expeditionary Units at Camp Del Mar here Nov. 20.
The purpose of Estrada's visit was to motivate and listen to the concerns of the enlisted Camp Pendleton Marines who had gathered outside the I MEF headquarters to listen to the top enlisted Marine.
Speaking under palm trees and an unusually-warm West Coast afternoon, Estrada wished the Marines a happy belated 231st birthday and thanked them for their hard work and dedication in the ongoing war on terror.
Those in attendance included members of the 11th MEU’s Command Element, some of whom recently returned in August from a six-month deployment through the Western Pacific Ocean and Middle East region. Others included members of the 13th MEU who are currently training in preparation for their upcoming six-month deployment early next year. Marines and sailors from I MEF were a small group who remained behind in support of the main MEF force that is currently conducting combat operations in Iraq.
Estrada also told the Marines to always behave morally and ethically whether at home or in battle, and when faced with a difficult decision to “always do the right thing for our Nation.” He told Marines from various occupational specialties and some Navy hospital corpsmen to continue to train hard and to prepare themselves and their junior Marines and sailors “to always be ready to answer our nation’s call.”
“You are our Nation’s force in readiness,” Estrada told Marines. The Expeditionary Forces” play an instrumental role in our nation being able to influence and conduct policy around the world,” said Estrada in an interview after his brief.
“You are my heroes. You inspire the heck out of me,” Estrada said to his young Marines and sailors. “Because of what you do, we will be around for another 231 years.”