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Commandant of the Marine Corps conducts town hall meeting at MCLB Albany

By Nathan L. Hanks Jr. | Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany | March 10, 2016


The 37th Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Robert B. Neller, conducted a town hall meeting with Marines and Sailors from throughout the base during his first official visit to Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, March 9.

Neller became commandant Sept. 24, 2015.

During the town hall meeting at the Base Theater, he discussed the current operational status of the Marine Corps as well as current global threats.

“The only way we are going to be successful against these adversaries is we have to think about doing things differently,” Neller said. “We have got to think about doing things better. A lot of the stuff you do here is to take what we have and make it better, making it more reliable, dependable and effective.”

According to the commandant, the world is changing fast and it can be hard to keep up with the technology.

“You are the digital generation and to you that stuff is second nature,” he said. “That’s why it’s so important that we (get) your ideas (so we can) continue to make not just what we do better, but make what we do differently a reality.  We are all in this together.”

Neller also discussed his expectation of the superior-subordinate relationship among Marines.

He addressed several things Marines should expect from their leaders and what Marine leaders should expect from junior Marines.

Staff Sgt. Richard Bailey, staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge, Tax Center, MCLB Albany, commented on the commandant’s leadership expectation.

“Sometimes the phrase ‘hold your Marines accountable’ is perceived to only mean from the top down,” Bailey said. “Hearing the commandant’s words and Power Point reassures (me) that it means for all Marines, even from the bottom up.”

According to Neller, each Marine joined the Marine Corps to provide a service and to be successful.

“Your leadership is here to make sure the institution is successful and to help facilitate your success,” he added.

 Neller said his goal is for every Marine to be successful.

 “For anybody on their first enlistment, my definition of success is for you (to) get an honorable discharge and take an $80,000 college scholarship that you have in your pocket and you go do something (with it),” he suggested. “Why would I want everyone in this room to be successful? If every Marine is individually successful, the odds are that the team is going to be successful.”

He concluded the meeting touching on the topic of drinking alcohol responsibly.

“(Some people say), ‘get over it general, the Marine Corps was founded in a bar,’” he quipped. “Marines drink, get over it, big deal. That’s part of our culture.”

Then the commandant asked, “Well, do we have to die in a bar?”

 “Alcohol really does not care who you are, how much money you (have), your gender, your age,” Neller stated. “It does not care. It will take you down.

“I know the quality of people we have in the Marine Corps today and we are much better than (succumbing to alcohol),” he stressed. “I need you to talk about this peer-to-peer and leader-to-Marine.”

Neller instructed everyone to touch their rank on their collar and said, “no one gave you that.”

“One half of one percent of the American population can wear this on their uniform,” he said as he pointed to the eagle, globe and anchor on his Marine Corps uniform pocket.

Following his remarks, the CMC held a question and answer session.

Topics and concerns addressed were the Marine Corps’ budget, height and weight standards, combat fitness test and integrating males and females in recruit training.

Before departing, Neller thanked the Marines and Sailors. 

“Nothing happens on its own,” he said. “Please understand how much I appreciate what you are doing and the fact that somewhere, maybe two to 30 years ago, you raised your (right) hand,” and then recited the oath of enlistment.

“Please thank your families for supporting you because none of us would be able to do what we do without them,” he emphasized.

“This is a team,” he continued. “I am the head coach and these are my assistant coaches,” as he pointed to Marine Corps Logistics Command and MCLB Albany leadership on the front row.

“Their job is to make sure you get put in the right position to take advantage of your talents,” he said. “Your job is to play hard, but (play) fair and compete (so) the Marine Corps will win.”