Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps visits Camp Lejeune

24 Oct 2005 | Lance Cpl. Ryan M. Blaich

The 15th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Sgt. Maj. John L. Estrada, visited Lejeune and addressed II Marine Expeditionary Force units Oct. 21.

“I am committed to you. I am your speaker to the Commandant,” Estrada told Marines gathered at the base theater.

Estrada praised Marines for their service and duty throughout these crucial times.

“Thank all of you for what you are doing for me and the nation. Thank you for joining or re-joining during this very defining time in history. You are making a difference,” he said.

According to Estrada, Marines have responded and their performance is superb across the board. He reminded the audience that the quality of the Corps has never been better, and that each generation of Marines has a reputation to uphold and pass on to the next.

“We have 230 years of responsibility and we can’t screw that up. Remember who you are. Remember what you represent,” Estrada said.

The Marine Corps is considered by Estrada to be the most respected fighting force in the world, with other military forces desiring to be like U.S. Marines.

After Estrada paid tribute to Marines he wanted to know about their concerns. Marines asked questions on everything from barrack space to the pull out in Iraq. Though he stated that he was not sure when we would be withdrawing troops from Iraq, he did say we could not protect them and their borders forever. Eventually, he said, Iraqi citizens will have to take care of themselves.

Something of great interest to the Marines, were the vast variety of issues concerning the barracks. According to Estrada, they are “currently being addressed and rest assured, something is going to happen.” Whether the Marine Corps builds new barracks, refurnishes old ones or allows noncommissioned officers to move off base, changes in living conditions are a priority and will be handled, he said.

Estrada, the senior enlisted Marine, resonates the pulse of the entire enlisted Corps to the Commandant. His presence at Camp Lejeune assured Marines their voice would be heard.