U.S. Marine Corps leadership pays Camp Lemonnier members holiday visit, reaffirms meaning

Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Michael Barrett, speaks to those in attendance during an “all-call“ on Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Dec. 29, 2013. The Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James Amos, his wife, Bonnie, Barrett, and Medal of Honor recipient Marine Corps Sgt. Dakota Meyer, visited Djibouti during their nine day, seven country tour. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Gross) CJTF-HOA Photo Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Michael Barrett, speaks to those in attendance during an “all-call“ on Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Dec. 29, 2013. The Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James Amos, his wife, Bonnie, Barrett, and Medal of Honor recipient Marine Corps Sgt. Dakota Meyer, visited Djibouti during their nine day, seven country tour. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Gross)
Gen. James Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, speaks to attendees during an “all-call“ on Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Dec. 29, 2013. Amos, his wife, Bonnie, Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Michael Barrett and Medal of Honor recipient Marine Corps Sgt. Dakota Meyer, visited Djibouti during their nine day, seven country tour. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Gross) CJTF-HOA Photo Gen. James Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, speaks to attendees during an “all-call“ on Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Dec. 29, 2013. Amos, his wife, Bonnie, Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Michael Barrett and Medal of Honor recipient Marine Corps Sgt. Dakota Meyer, visited Djibouti during their nine day, seven country tour. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Gross)
U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Dakota Meyer, Medal of Honor recipient, shakes hands with Lance Cpl. Danette Riherd during a meet and greet on Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Dec. 28, 2013. Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James Amos, his wife, Bonnie, Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Michael Barrett and Meyer visited Djibouti during their nine day, seven country tour. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Gross) CJTF-HOA Photo U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Dakota Meyer, Medal of Honor recipient, shakes hands with Lance Cpl. Danette Riherd during a meet and greet on Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Dec. 28, 2013. Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James Amos, his wife, Bonnie, Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Michael Barrett and Meyer visited Djibouti during their nine day, seven country tour. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Gross)
Gen. James Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, talks with Marines after landing on Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Dec. 28, 2013. Amos, his wife, Bonnie, Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Michael Barrett and Medal of Honor recipient Marine Corps Sgt. Dakota Meyer, visited Djibouti during their nine day, seven country tour. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Gross) CJTF-HOA Photo Gen. James Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, talks with Marines after landing on Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Dec. 28, 2013. Amos, his wife, Bonnie, Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Michael Barrett and Medal of Honor recipient Marine Corps Sgt. Dakota Meyer, visited Djibouti during their nine day, seven country tour. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Gross)
Gen. James Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, speaks with Maj. Gen. Terry Ferrell, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa commanding general, following an “all-call“ on Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Dec. 29, 2013. Amos, his wife, Bonnie, Sgt. Maj. Of the Marine Corps Michael Barrett and Medal of Honor recipient Marine Corps Sgt. Dakota Meyer, visited Djibouti during their nine day, seven country tour. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Gross) CJTF-HOA Photo Gen. James Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, speaks with Maj. Gen. Terry Ferrell, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa commanding general, following an “all-call“ on Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Dec. 29, 2013. Amos, his wife, Bonnie, Sgt. Maj. Of the Marine Corps Michael Barrett and Medal of Honor recipient Marine Corps Sgt. Dakota Meyer, visited Djibouti during their nine day, seven country tour. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Gross)
Bonnie Amos, First Lady of the Marine Corps, hugs a Marine to spread some holiday cheer following an “all-call“ on Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Dec. 29, 2013. Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James Amos, Bonnie, Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Michael Barrett and Medal of Honor recipient Marine Corps Sgt. Dakota Meyer, visited Djibouti during their nine day, seven country tour. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Gross) CJTF-HOA Photo Bonnie Amos, First Lady of the Marine Corps, hugs a Marine to spread some holiday cheer following an “all-call“ on Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Dec. 29, 2013. Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James Amos, Bonnie, Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Michael Barrett and Medal of Honor recipient Marine Corps Sgt. Dakota Meyer, visited Djibouti during their nine day, seven country tour. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Gross)

U.S. Marine Corps leadership ensured Marines and other service members deployed to Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, knew they weren’t forgotten and their service overseas during the holidays is greatly appreciated, during an “all-call” Dec. 29, 2013.

Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James Amos, his wife, Bonnie, Sgt. Maj. Of the Marine Corps Michael Barrett and Medal of Honor recipient Marine Corps Sgt. Dakota Meyer, visited Djibouti during their nine day, seven country tour.

During the “all-call” Amos said there was no other place he’d rather be during the holidays, than with his Marines.

Nobody wants to be away from home at Christmas. My wife and I left our children and grandchildren. They mean a lot to us.” Amos said. “(But) Marines are deployed. If you’re going to be here we want to come out and be with you.”

The general also reaffirmed the Marines’ purpose of why they’re here. He said they’re America’s insurance policy. Pointing out that it’s like any other ordinary thing one would have insurance for, whether it’s a car, house, or renter’s insurance.

“You buy insurance as a hedge against the unknown. You don’t know what the hell is going to happen, so you buy insurance,” Amos said. “(So) 238 years ago, America bought an insurance policy. It’s us, and for 238 years America has been paying the premium on it. I’d say for 238 years, America got its bang for its buck.”

Barrett assured the Marines knew their purpose and that what they’re doing is selfless and honorable.

Only .4 percent of America’s 310 million citizens make the decision to serve their country, Barrett pointed out. Less than one tenth percent of the population chooses to wear the Marine uniform.

This has been the only time in America’s history that it has been engaged in a long-term war, going on 13 years, and has sustained an all-volunteer force, Barrett explained.

“You all could have gone and done anything in your life, but you were men and women who didn’t choose an easy life. You chose to be tougher people,” Barrett said. “The greatest tragedy in life is not death; it’s not having a purpose.”

Marines in attendance were receptive of what their leadership had to say, and some felt it was just the boost they needed.

“I think it was very inspirational and motivational for them to take time out of their schedules to come out here and visit deployed service members. I’m glad they took time out to acknowledge what we’re doing,” said Marine Corps Master Sgt. Adam Newsum, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa logistics units.

Newsum said his biggest take away from the visit was the clear message of the Marine Corps mission. He said it’s different now than when he came in. It was “dubbed” the 911 force, and now it’s America’s insurance policy.

“It’s good he’s constantly reaffirming the Marines, the rest of the services and the world,” Newsum said.

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