Commandant of the Marine Corps visits MCAS Iwakuni
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Gen. Joseph Dunford, 36th Commandant of the Marine Corps, and Sgt. Maj. Ronald Green, Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, paid a visit to the service members aboard Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, March 24, 2015.
Having only one day to spend aboard station, Dunford started his day with an all-hands brief at the Sakura Theater where he spoke to service members about the issues pertaining to the current state of the Marine Corps and his plans to improve it.
“My priority is to make sure that the Corps continues to answer the call as the nation’s force in readiness,” said Dunford. “My focus is to ensure that we meet the expectations of the American people and when the people have a crisis they expect us to respond to today’s crisis today, so that’s exactly what we will continue to do.”
At the tail-end of the brief, the commandant opened the floor to the service members, giving them the chance to ask him and the sergeant major questions.
The question and answer period shined a light on multiple topics including females in infantry, our relationship with the Japanese, and the highly contested tattoo policy.
Dunford cleared up the rumors of the change in the tattoo policy and explained that, later this month, the SMMC, along with senior enlisted leaders, will look at the current policy and decide what should be changed, if anything.
“We heard you,” said Green. “We are going to look at what is best for the Marine Corps and what will keep us combat ready and combat effective. We will make that decision and give that advice to the commandant.”
After the brief, the commandant took a trip to American Forces Network to field more questions submitted through social media during a radio interview.
During the interview, Dunford and Green not only focused on the mission of the Marines but also on the importance of families and family readiness.
“More than 50% of our Marines are married,” explained Dunford. “We know that family readiness is critical for us to be a combat ready organization, and despite difficult fiscal times, my goal is to maintain a high-level of family readiness.”
Dunford and Green spent the rest of their time aboard station visiting units including Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242 and Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 12.
Throughout his visit, Dunford reassured Marines of the important role they play in the overall Marine Corps mission.
“You are the anchor point, frankly, of our presence here in the Pacific,” said Dunford of the service members aboard MCAS Iwakuni. “You send a loud and clear message to all our allies in the region that the Marines are here and if something were to happen, we are in the position here to respond. I also think it sends a message to any potential adversaries.”
In the short amount of time they spent aboard station, Dunford and Green expressed their strong appreciation for the Marines and how impressed they are with what they saw during their visit.
“We get paid to be relevant, we get paid to be ready, and we get paid to be professional,” said Dunford. “During my short time here I have seen Marines that are professional, proud and make the sergeant major and I proud, so thank you.”