MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- The Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Sgt. Maj. John L. Estrada, met with several senior enlisted and retired Marines during a retiree professional luncheon at the Paradise Point Officers Club here June 15.
After the meal, Estrada gave a speech concerning the present state of the Marine Corps and touched upon many issues. He spoke about the operations in Fallujah, Iraq, and how the Marine Corps had been victorious there.
“When I visited Fallujah it was a ghost town with nothing moving except Marines,” Estrada said. “The city is bustling now, and the citizens thank the Marines every day for driving out the insurgency.”
He also discussed operational tempo and the vital role of the Marine Reserve units that have been activated and deployed.
“The Marine Corps wound not be successful without their effort,” Estrada said.
Estrada also spoke of the increase in numbers of the Marine Corps to 178,000 Marines and their efforts to try and recruit and retain Marines to reach that goal.
Parents are asking recruiters tough questions. Recruiters are sitting now down with parents for longer periods of time than before to answer questions about the benefits of the Marine Corps, according to Estrada. Before the war, the average time spent talking with parents was four hours. Now, the time answering paren’t questions has tripled, averaging 12 hours.
The Sergeant Major also touched on the subjects of the sea basing, the MV-22 Osprey units and the moral of the performance of the Marines.
Morale and motivation is still extremely high and the Marines’ only concern is whether the American public is still behind them, according to Estrada. The command should appreciate new Marines because they volunteer. They are better trained and just as tough and smart.
“The performance of our Marines are just as superb as their predecessors,” Estrada said. “They have added to the legacy of the Marine Corps.”
Estrada also spoke about the Marine Corps no longer issuing dress blue trousers in recruit training whether dress blues will still be issued for funerals, and answered questions concerning the body armor issued to Marines.
“I’ve been retired for 30 years and (Estrada) covered everything from A-Z,” said Frank McNeive a retired sergeant major. “It was all important.”