MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
The Congressional Medal of Honor is the highest decoration awarded to service members, and it’s not every day people can meet a Medal of Honor recipient. Marines and spouses aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune will have that opportunity Dec. 11.
Retired Maj. Gen. James Livingston and retired Army Maj. Drew Dix are scheduled to visit MCB Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River next Tuesday and Wednesday, and speak with different units during their stay. They are also scheduled to meet with Marine and sailor families from the installations in the Russell Marine and Family Center to discuss the important roles spouses play in a military marriage next Wednesday at 6 p.m.
“It’s an opportunity to come out and meet two Medal of Honor recipients,” said Melissa Slater, a family readiness program manager with Marine Corps Community Services. “They’re going to speak words of encouragement, and that night they’re going to explain how the spouse’s role in a marriage is just as tough as their military husbands or wives.”
Light hors d’oeuvres and non-alcoholic beverages will be served at the event, which Eric Carlson, a readiness and deployment support trainer with MCCS, hopes will be a conversational atmosphere.
“They will explain their views on the important role the spouses have, and they will encourage dialogue between them and the audience,” said Carlson.
This will mark the first time where Medal of Honor recipients will visit various units aboard MCB Camp Lejeune and MCAS New River.
“We had Medal of Honor recipients visit us before, but this is the first time the event has been centered around them and their interaction with Marines and sailors,” said Slater.
MCCS received positive feedback for the idea of the event, said Garrett Bridges, a readiness and deployment trainer with the program. He said people are excited to be able to hear from a real-life Medal of Honor recipients and to hear their take on the role of the military spouse.
“They’re very passionate about (speaking),” said Bridges, referring to Livingston and Dix. “It’s not like it is just a job for them. It’s something they want to do because the message is important, and it’s something they get very passionate about.”
Slater and Bridges agreed one of the most important aspects of the upcoming event is that Livingston and Dix will make sure military families understand it’s okay to ask for help if they need it.
“We want to remove the stigma of asking for help,” said Bridges. “We are in the process of doing it, but we still have a long way to go. If anyone has an issue or a question, these two men will be able to answer.”
Gia Velazquez, a supervisory family readiness program trainer with MCCS said, speaking from the standpoint of a military spouse, it’s a great thing to have them here and have someone remind them they have so much to endure being married to a service member.
Marines, sailors or spouses interested in meeting Livingston and Dix need to register for the free event, in order to allow the coordinators to prepare. Free childcare will also be provided for families who have small children. Anyone interested can register by calling 451-0176.
For more information visit mccslejeune.com.