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Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert B. Neller speaks with the Marines forward deployed to the Middle East with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command, Dec. 22, 2016. Neller spoke about the SPMAGTF-CR-CC history, coalition partnerships, readiness, and the future of the Marine Corps.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Joshua S. McAlpine


12 Feb 2017 | Staff Sgt. Jennifer B. Poole I Marine Expeditionary Force

Leaders at the helm of the Marine Corps spent some of their holiday season with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command Marines currently forward deployed to the Middle East, Dec. 21-22, 2016.

The 37th Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Robert B. Neller, and the 18th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Sgt. Maj. Ronald L. Green, visited Marines across the USCENTCOM area of responsibility to spend time with forward deployed Marines during the holidays, and to remind them of the bond we share as Marines.

Neller spoke about the SPMAGTF-CR-CC history, coalition partnerships, readiness, and the future of the Marine Corps.

During Neller’s visit, he dined with Marines, visited Marines in multiple locations across the AOR, and held an open forum to speak with Marines about the future of the Corps.

In its 5th iteration, the SPMAGTF-CR-CC is a highly-trained, crisis-response unit that has the ability to project combat power over vast distances using organic air, logistical, and ground combat assets.  The SPMAGTF provides security across the region, trains partner nation forces, provides a specialized crisis response force, and supports Operation Inherent Resolve with air strikes and Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel (TRAP).


 “This is a team,” Neller said. “The team rises and falls on the effort and the play of every single player.  Everybody here has got a mission. Do your job. You might not think at that particular moment, or in the middle of the afternoon that what you’re doing is important, but it is. It is important, so do your job.”

Green mirrored Neller’s words of teamwork, “We all work toward one goal, to accomplish the mission. That’s what we’re here for. Protect what we’ve earned. Protect the legacy of those who’ve gone before us, and those who will come after.”

The commandant also discussed plans for an upcoming increase of Marine Corps forces of about 3,000 Marines, with an end total of roughly 185,000 Marines. Neller went on to discuss how the battlespace has changed, and therefore how we approach training our Marines must change as well.

 “We used to think about conventional war in the air, on the land, in the sea or under the sea,” Neller said. “Now you’ve really got to think about war in six areas: air, land, sea, cyber, space, and information. And information relies on cyber, which is facilitated by space. What we used to think about war, is not the same in my mind anymore.”

When asked why he joined the Marine Corps and continued to serve over the course of the last 41 years, Neller responded,

“I like Marines … If you want to make a lot of money and want to be famous, then you shouldn’t stay. But if you think what you’re doing is important and makes you feel good about who you are, because after all, it’s not what we do, it’s who we are.”

Before departing from the USCENTCOM AOR, Neller had a few last words for all the Marines.

“The edge we have is you, but we won’t have that edge without you and without you trying to get better. So it’s a lot to ask to bring your ‘A-game’ every day, perhaps it’s even impossible… but you get up, look in the mirror, say alright, put your big boy pants on, go to the gym, come back, put your coffee on, and lets go do the job.”

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