MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. -- Senior Marines have years of experience and insight to pass on to the junior Marines.
Maj. Gen. Charles F. Bolden Jr., 34-year veteran of the Corps, recently visited MCLB Albany Nov. 13 and spoke to young Marines about his experiences as a Marine aviator and astronaut with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The MCLB Albany Chapter of the National Naval Officers' Association coordinated the visit.
Bolden flew for more than 6,000 hours through his career, including flight missions during the Vietnam War. He also flew on four space flights and logged more than 680 hours in space.
But the main topic Bolden spoke about was the time he served as the commanding general of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Miramar, San Diego, Calif.
Through his time in the Corps, he realized that the junior Marines should always be top at the priority list, he said. Although Marines are taught that mission accomplishment should be most important, Bolden feels without the hard work of Marines the mission will not be completed.
To improve the quality of life for Marines at Miramar, Bolden implemented a program called, "Putting Marines First."
"The purpose of this plan was to maximize the efforts of making Marines into the best warriors possible," said Bolden.
The three major goals of the plan were mentorship, wellness and community outreach. Bolden briefly explained each goal and what they mean to Marines here. Through the plan Bolden hoped to bring his Marines closer together, which is something he feels is very important for a fighting force such as the Marine Corps.
"When we go to war, a Marine who believes in himself and his unit and people around him becomes an awesome warrior, and that is how we win wars," said Bolden.
When Bolden finished talking about the importance of putting Marines first, he answered questions from his audience. Most of the questions pertained to his journeys into space.
During the question-and-answer session, Bolden highlighted one space mission when he piloted the Space Shuttle Discovery and orbited Earth from a record setting altitude of 400 miles while the crew successfully deployed the Hubble Telescope.
"Space is awesome," said Bolden, when he was questioned 'what space is like.' "Just let your imagination run wild and that's pretty much what space is."
He also commented on how the earth looks while in orbit.
"As kids we are taught that the earth is made up mostly of water," said Bolden. "Looking at Earth from space really put that into perspective. There were short periods of time that all you could see on the earth's surface was water."
After answering Marines' questions, Bolden concluded his time with the Marines by wishing them success in the future. He also reminded them to follow their dreams and never to let anyone tell them they cannot achieve their goals.