Worldwide Commandants Conference visits Camp Lejeune

24 Jul 2002 | Sgt. David J. Drafton

Marine Commandant General James L. Jones and commanders from 32 foreign countries explored the base recently as part of the East Coast United States Marine Corps facilities weeklong tour.

The military leaders came together at the inaugural Worldwide Commandants Conference to discuss matters of reciprocal concern, including the future of warfare in the coastal regions, global war on terrorism, and shared training opportunities.

Members participating in the conference also had a first-hand opportunity to see the U.S. Marine Corps' Marine Air Ground Task Force fighting ability during the quarterly capabilities exercise.

Prior to the event, Marine Corps Community Services employees briefed the commandants' wives, who also attended the event, on basic benefits aboard the base, to include the commissary and gyms.

After departing Lejeune, Jones escorted the commandants to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., and the yellow footprints so many have come to associate with the beginning of Marine training.

From Parris Island, the group traveled to Patuxet River, Md., and caught a glimpse of the MV-22 Osprey's continuing flight tests.

The tour culminated at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., where the commandants had an opportunity to observe officer candidates training and a joint, nonlethal weapons demonstration. The tour concluded with a special parade honoring U.S. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.

The Commandant's Special Projects Directorate, led by Joel Eissinger and his deputy Lt. Col. Paul Burke, executed the mammoth planning event more than one year in the making.

Not to be outdone by their husbands on this trip, Mrs. Jones hosted the spouses during the course of the weeklong tour. They traveled with the commandants and viewed many of the same events, but had their own agenda, such as quality of life issues and an overview of the Marine Corps' exceptional family member program.