16 November 2011

USMC Birthday Ball Remarks

Note: Team, my ERB post from Monday generated a lot of interest and comments due to the importance of the topic. Although I am keeping to my regular drumbeat of posts (beginning with this one), I will definitely keep the ERB thread open to continue our discussion; I’ll check your comments regularly and do my best to respond to your questions and concerns.
All the best, JCHjr

Last week I had the great privilege of being the guest of honor at the II MEF Marine Corps Birthday Ball in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina (my remarks are here). This event was indeed truly memorable for me and I was greatly honored to participate. I was able to spend a terrific evening with the Marines at the very heart of the Marine Corps, Camp Lejeune.

I took advantage of my time in Camp Lajeune to meet with the 2D Marine Logistic Group (MLG) to receive a brief from the Bold Alligator logistics team and do some prep work for the upcoming exercise. I was particularly interested in this brief because logistics will be squarely at the center of nearly everything we do during Bold Alligator 2012.

The public debate on large-scale amphibious operations today tends to be focused on the relevance of the opposed landing ashore, but BA12 will be much more about demonstrating our uniquely Naval, rpt Naval, ability to establish a sea base and conduct and sustain a wide range of expeditionary operations from the sea. While we have this expeditionary sea-basing capability today (as the Navy-Marine Corps Team amply demonstrated during the Haiti earthquake relief operation in 2010), this exercise will be broader in nature and serve as an opportunity to test our ability to plan and execute these extensive operations with the forces we have today.

With all the anxiety over the inevitable cuts to our budget, there is no shortage of so-called “experts” predicting with great certainty the future of armed conflict for the next 20 years. In my experience, these predictions are generally 100% wrong almost 100% of the time and it is for this reason that we must stay focused on the missions that we must be able to execute today with the forces that we have today. This is what BA12 is all about.

Thanks again to LtGen Jay Paxton and the II MEF Marines for allowing me to participate in their Birthday Ball – it was indeed an honor for me to spend the evening with them and celebrate the 236th birthday of the United States Marine Corps.
All the best, Happy Birthday Marines and Semper Fidelis, JCHjr

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