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MARCENT general assures Marines full support

28 Jun 2008 | Cpl. Ray Lewis

The deputy commanding general for Marine Corps Forces Central Command wasted no time in getting down to business when he came to visit the Marines.   

Although his overall demeanor seemed jovial, Brig. Gen. David C. Garza made it clear that his intent was to ensure Task Force 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix, knew it had MARCENT’s full support. 

MARCENT, which is commanded by Lt. Gen. Samuel T. Helland and headquartered in Tampa, Fla., oversees all Marine Corps forces operating within the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility – Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa.  As the DCG, Brig. Gen. Garza plays a major role in supporting Marine operations here.  

While his visit follows that of other Marine generals and high-ranking VIP officials, it has directly impacted the morale and welfare of the troops serving here in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.   

He visited the Marines, along with Master Gunnery Sgt. Jose L. Garcia, his senior enlisted advisor. As the Marine Corps’ most senior infantryman with more than 30 years of service, Master Gunnery Sgt. Garcia aided the one-star general in identifying and confronting head on various challenges the Marines may encounter as they continue to conduct distributive operations in some of Afghanistan’s most austere and remote regions.

“It is humbling to have so much attention given to just one battalion; MARCENT has been a pit bull in supporting us,” said Task Force Commander Lt. Col. Richard D. Hall, who was commended by the DCG on his efforts to bring peace and prosperity to the Afghan people.  

The infantry battalion deployed to Afghanistan in early April.  Based out of the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, Calif., it is currently operating throughout the Helmand and Farah provinces on a police mentoring assignment. Despite the turmoil resulting from clashes with enemy forces, TF 2/7 has made tremendous progress with the Afghan people through its support of the ANP and various civil affairs projects. 

Current projects include repairing and replacing wells; paving and repairing roads; constructing new irrigation channels to sustain agriculture production and living conditions; and holding medical capabilities operations to administer medical supplies and render direct patient care. 

Upon touring the area and talking to various Marines, the DCG realized he could lend immediate support by locating a Marine expeditor cell in Bagram where protective equipment such as gloves, eye protection and Flame Resistant Organizational Gear arrive in country. By identifying a staff of Marines that would source these necessary items much faster, he managed to streamline the acquisition process in a matter of minutes. This initiative was deemed critical to mission success, as this Marine staff will now send items directly to the Marines who are serving at forward operating bases.

“The ability for Marines to walk through the Bagram supply point and draw items… will improve support to the warfighters serving out at our austere FOBs,” said 1st Lt. David Castro, supply officer. 

Upon expressing the significance of the Marine’s mission, the DCG assured the Marines full MARCENT support. While the impact of his visit may not be felt immediately, having the general’s backing certainly raises the confidence level of the Marines and other task force members currently serving in harm’s way.