ON TO KUWAIT... I wrapped up my check-in process with I MEF today. Tomorrow I will begin the long (24 hours plus) journey to Kuwait, my final stop before actually heading into Iraq to begin my mission.
My brief time here at Pendleton has been a pleasant reminder of how much fun it is to simply be around Marines. Even in the most ordinary and unexciting circumstances (like helping a Lieutenant Colonel check into a new unit), their character shines through... They are professional, positive, funny, spirited and, above all, they have heart. I am enthusiastic about the chance to be surrounded by these wonderful young people and to be charged with recording their thoughts and deeds in far more interesting circumstances for the next few months.
The other aspect that I have been aware of, but observed quite clearly while here, is how incredibly experienced our force is at present. A large percentage of even the youngest cohort of troops have already completed at least one tour in Iraq and many have done two or even three tours in Iraq and/or Afghanistan in the past four years.
My thanks go out to the Marines and Sailors of the MEF Headquarters Group, who helped me to wrap up my processing here so quickly and efficiently. My thoughts now turn to the next group of Marines I will be privileged to spend time with...
Allow me to wish a Happy Birthday tonight to all Marines, present and past, in the event that I don't have the opportunity to log in again before 10 November. Happy 231st Birthday, Marines. Semper Fidelis.