Marine Commandant Visit With Troops In The Field

March 3rd, 2008  
Team Infidel

Topic: Marine Commandant Visit With Troops In The Field

February 29, 2008
Special Report With Brit Hume (FNC), 6:00 PM
BRET BAIER: American Marines in the Middle East got a visit from the boss recently. The commandant of the Marine Corps took questions and everything from battlefield stress to new rules about tattoos.
National security correspondent Jennifer Griffin concludes her weeklong series from Iraq and Afghanistan, with the look at the give and take between commander and his troops.
GEN. JAMES CONWAY [U.S. Marine Corps Commandant]: Whatís on your mind this morning, gang? What can we talk about?
JENNIFER GRIFFIN: The questions at town hall after town hall when Marine Commandant Gen. James Conway toured Afghanistan and Iraq last week did not seem to indicate the Marines have a morale problem. No one asked, sir, when are we going home?
CONWAY: How many folks have been here twice?
GRIFFIN: Many still wanted to know how to reenlist in the battle zone. The paperwork was preventing some gung-ho warriors from signing up and getting their tax benefits. Many Marines just wanted to know how to continue serving, including one with post-traumatic stress disorder, who wanted to be a drill instructor or recruiter.
MARINE: Iíve been diagnosed with PTSD and I was told that I cannot go on DI or recruiting duty because of the stressful environment. Is there any way that I can get waived?
SGT. MAJ. CARLTON KENT [U.S. Marine Corps]: First of all, let me touch on PTSD. It is a lot of Marines seeing the horror of combat. And the commandant, heís passed it down through the chain, itís okay. And you know Ė and it is Ė I mean, itís okay to come forward.
CONWAY: One, if itís treatable, you are being treated. And I think itís the type of thing that a person can recover from with proper treatment.
GRIFFIN: Many wanted to know about the new tattoo policy: a ban on sleeves that can be seen on the neck or forearm.
CONWAY: Youíre not worldwide assignable with sleeve tattoos.
GRIFFIN: For embassy duty or for law enforcement positions after the Marine Corps.
KENT: We just had to set a standard somewhere where Marines cannot just go out and get inked up all over their body.
GRIFFIN: They arenít banning all tattoos.
KENT: I have four tattoos, but the key to this is I donít have sleeves, I donít have it where it shows.
GRIFFIN: For most of these Marines, their needs were simple: better barracks back home.
KENT: I mean, whenever you hear a Marine say, Iíd rather be in combat than barracks at Camp Pendleton and Horno, weíve got a problem.
GRIFFIN: And the food on bases in Iraq is so good and so plentiful, many are getting fat. So there were questions about the new height/weight requirements.
CONWAY: I like big Marines. I go to the weight room sometimes and I see these big guys. They look like they could, you know, get to the top of the hill and still do a pretty good job with a bayonet. What I donít like is big, fat Marines Ė (laughter) Ė and I make that distinction.
GRIFFIN: What really brought a smile to their faces was the promise of a new running suit, free-of-charge.
KENT: The young warriors is going to love thisnew jogging suit. Itís a really nice jogging suit. But we need this back Ė (laughter) Ė because it is the commandantís jogging suit.
GRIFFIN: Traveling with the Marine Commandant, Jennifer Griffin, Fox News.

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