Deputy commandant visits Marine Corps Detachment
By Melissa Buckley, Guidon Staff
| Gray Marine Corps Research Center | September 13, 2013
September 12, 2013 --
For the first time in his career Marine Lt. Gen. Mark Faulkner, Installations and Logistics deputy commandant, stepped foot on Fort Leonard Wood — and he was impressed by what he saw while touring the Marine Corps Detachment.
“It’s large. There are some great training opportunities here. I was really struck by the amount of area that is available to train,” Faulkner said. “Another thing that struck me was the close working relationship between that Army and the Marine Corps. It’s mutually beneficial. I had the opportunity this morning to have breakfast with Maj. Gen. Smith. He treats the Marines just like he treats his Army units. It is very good to see.”
Faulkner was on post Sept. 3 to get a better appreciation for the training here, get a sense of the relationship between the Army and the Marine Corps and identify some opportunities where he could improve the level of training.
“Unless you have actually been here you can’t get a good appreciation for it. It’s a pretty impressive layout,” he said.
The deputy commandant took time for touring post to speak to the detachment’s students. Col. John Giltz, Marine Corps Detachment Fort Leonard Wood commander, introduced Faulkner to the formation.
“He is on a whirlwind three-day trip going to a lot of places around the Marine Corps and we are honored to have him here today,” Giltz said. “As the deputy commandant for Installations and Logistics he works directly for your commandant. He works the big issues for us back in Washington, D.C.”
Faulkner brought messages from the commandant to the students about where the Marine Corps is going and what the new Marines are doing on Fort Leonard Wood.
“We are drawing down out of Afghanistan. By December of next year, we should be close to zero (Marines) in Afghanistan. We are also pulling our equipment out. One of the reasons we are doing that is not only because the president told us to, but we are transitioning. We are focusing on a different part of the world. When you graduate a lot of you will be going to the Pacific,” Faulkner said. “Over the last 13 years in Iraq and Afghanistan, we have gotten away from amphibious operations. We are getting back to our Marine Corps roots. We have a lot of experience in the Pacific, that’s our historic backyard. Marines that came before you, even Marines that came before me have dropped a lot of blood in the Pacific.”
Faulkner told the Marines not to worry about the defense budget — that was the commandant’s job.
“What you need to focus on is what you are doing in Fort Leonard Wood. That’s your duty, Marines,” Faulkner said. “Our commandant has made it very clear – his priority is to those Marines that are the furthest from the flagpole. His priority is on the Marines that are training to be forward deployed. That’s you. You are the focus of our main effort.”
Then, he turned his attention to the training that the new Marines were receiving on Fort Leonard Wood.
“What you are going through right now is critical to our future. It doesn’t matter what your Military Occupational Specialty is, you need to take care of business at Fort Leonard Wood,” Faulkner said.
He said he was blown-away at the caliber of instructors the detachment has.
“These men and women are at the top of their class in terms of their knowledge. Just about all of them have combat tours in Iraq of Afghanistan. They are a perfect choice to train our brand new Marines,” Faulkner said.