World commandants visit depot
By Cpl. Matt Preston
| | July 26, 2002
MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT/EASTERN RECRUITING REGION, PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. -- --
General James L. Jones, Commandant of the Marine Corps, visited Parris Island, July 19, as part of the Inaugural Worldwide Commandants Conference along with Marine commandants and commanders of naval infantry from 32 foreign countries. They came to the United States to tour U.S. Marine Corps installations and share ideas, form goals and forge new relationships.
"During my tour as Commandant, I've had opportunities to meet with smaller regional groups of commandants. I've always found the conversations interesting and beneficial," said Gen. Jones. "I've looked forward to this conference for over a year."
While on Parris Island, the commandants toured the Crucible, the recruits' culminating event in training, observed the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program at the new Leatherneck Square and even took their turn standing on the yellow footprints as recruits do when they first arrive on Parris Island.
The conference not only gave the leaders an opportunity to discuss common issues, it was a chance to take back what they've learned from the United States and others.
"It's been very, very, very interesting," said Capt. Karl Storgards, Finland's Coastal Jaegers' representative. "We have a very positive view of [the Marine Corps] capabilities."
Though, hosted by the United States, international cooperation was the focus for the conference.
"While the WWCC is held in the United States, the discussion is not intended to be driven solely by the United States," said John Boardman, political advisor to Gen. Jones. "These nations bring so much varied expertise to the table, some are modeled upon the USMC, some are small commando-type forces and some, particularly the Latin and South American forces, are built around riverine operations. We can all learn so much from each other."
Storgards said he was looking forward to working with regional ally Sweden, who also attended the conference, to discuss what they've learned here.
Before coming to Parris Island, the commandants visited Camp Lejeune, N.C., to observe the II Marine Expeditionary Force conduct a capabilities demonstration. They wrapped up the conference with a visit to Officer Candidates School in Quantico, Va.