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MEF general visits; Inspires Marines


Story Identification Number: 200335161256
Story by Lance Cpl. Shawn C. Rhodes

CAMP SHOUP, Kuwait(March 1, 2003) -- Marines assembled here March 1 to listen to the words of Lt. Gen. James T. Conway, commanding general, I Marine Expeditionary Force.

The general offered inspiring words to the Marines concerning the possible events to come.

The general, standing atop a tank, opened by saying that despite some protesting back home, most of the U.S. was in favor of military action in Iraq. He drew a resounding cheer when he added, "Our president doesn't mess around. He's from Texas."

The general went on to say that the Marines who fought in the first Gulf War left two important things as their legacy: "First of all, all of Iraq knows we are the baddest ... in the valley."

This drew a second roar of cheers. The general continued "the second thing left to us is a legacy of combined arms. We have the largest air combat wing in the whole Marine Corps for us to use."

As the general finished speaking about the air combat element ready for action, two jets soared overhead, a few hundred feet above the crowd. This was followed by numerous pass-overs from helicopters.

"When those jets and helicopters flew over all of us, it really drove the general's point home. It was like he really meant business," said Lance Cpl. Kevin O. Rushing, an amphibious tracked vehicle mechanic, and native of Commerce, Mi. "The speech enlightened everyone as to what our intent here is."

The general made his strongest point when he said, "How you all conduct yourselves, what you do in the (time ahead) will govern how you, your compadres, and your family sees you for the rest of your lives."

This statement drove home for many Marines what they had been thinking since arriving in Kuwait.

"It was very motivating for me. To think that when you leave you?ll think better of yourself, and other men (who didn?t have the courage to fight) will think less of themselves," said Rushing. "The world knows Marines are the hard ones. It's good to know that we are going in with superior weaponry and attitude."

The general concluded his speech by saying "I'm not worried about your ability (as individual Marines) to do what you need to do at the tactical level. Go out there and do what you need to do."

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