9th Circuit visits Camp Pendleton for Marine Corps refresher

19 Aug 2011 | Sgt. Marcy Sanchez

Visitors from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals toured Camp Pendleton and participated in multiple demonstrations including a live-fire exercise, Aug. 16.

Maj. Gen. Melvin G. Spiese, deputy commanding general of I Marine Expeditionary Force, welcomed the group of federal judges, lawyer representatives and guests from the Western United States who were in the area for a judicial conference in San Diego

 “It’s always great to have people aboard and talk about where we are and what we’re doing in the Marine Corps,” Spiese said.

The guests were introduced to the Marine Corps’ role in the country’s national defense and received an overview of a Marine Air-Ground Task Force structure.

“We have changed our methodology in certain ways from the time that some of [the guests] went through the Marine Corps,” Spiese said to his guests, some of which are former Marines.

Marines have made some pretty big advances from boot camp training to leadership skills, he said.

Spiese welcomed questions from his visitors prompted from briefs regarding the current and future Marine Corps mission and current state of affairs in Afghanistan.

“I think it’s important for people to know what it is Marines do to train and protect the security of our nation,” said William V. Gallo, a U.S. magistrate judge from the San Diego Federal Courthouse. “You get a real appreciation for what Marines do.”

Although most of the guests from the group are now disputing in court or pounding a gavel, approximately 19 of the 35 guests are former Marines whose visit to Camp Pendleton was a reminder of their Marine Corps ties.

“I don’t think people who aren’t associated with the Marine Corps have a real appreciation for the kind of dedication and discipline that our young men and women have,” said Gallo, a former Marine colonel. “To hear about the Marine warrior ethos and training is exciting. Most civilians never get the opportunity to talk to a Marine, let alone see what they do.”

Gallo hopes this visit allows members of the group who were former Marines to reconnect with the Corps and get a renewed pride in the young men and women who are serving today.

As their visit came to an end, the group took the opportunity to view and board various tactical vehicles, and the AH-1W Cobra helicopter.

“I hope when they leave here today they go back home and talk about this event being the highlight of their stay for the conference,” Gallo said.