34th Commandant, Sgt. Maj. of Marine Corps visit Parris Island
By Lance Cpl. Deanne Hurla
| | January 10, 2007
MCRD/ERR Parris Island, S.C. -- General James T. Conway, 34th commandant of the Marine Corps, and Sgt. Maj. John L. Estrada, 15th sergeant major of the Marine Corps, visited Parris Island Jan. 9 and 10.
During the visit, General Conway spoke to Marines aboard the Depot about his plans for the Marine Corps, answered questions and asked what Marines would like to see happen in the future. Estrada also spoke with the Marines and even participated in a motivational run with personnel of the Recruit Training Regiment.
General Conway talked about increasing the size of the Marine Corps and of his plans for changing the deployment ratio to a one to two ratio. This would give Marines more time at home with their families and also allow for Marines who have not deployed to be able to. One way the commandant plans to do this is to get all military occupational specialties to deploy. Out of about 180,000 Marines, 66,000, some of who are pipeline students, have not deployed. Another benefit of increasing the size of the Marine Corps is it will help prevent Marines from deploying three times or more.
Increasing the size of the Marine Corps could have an impact on the Depot and the Eastern Recruiting Region. The number of recruiters and drill instructors may also need to be increased to help recruit and train future Marines.
Also discussed was the new physical training uniform, possibly upgrading the M-9 pistol and the M-16 A2 service rifle and how wounded Marines are being taken care of and not forgotten.
Before departing, General Conway invited Estrada out onto the floor with him to answer questions and give words of encouragement to everyone present.
"Marines are the worlds best warriors and I want to thank you for the job each and everyone of you do," said Estrada.
General Conway concluded the event by saying how much he appreciates every Marine and the job they do.
"The older generation didn't know if the next [generation] would make it but you are doing a marvelous job," said. General Conway.