FORWARD OPERATING BASE GERONIMO, Afghanistan – Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus spent time visiting with Marines and sailors of 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 7, at Forward Operating Base Geronimo, Oct. 28.
This is the Secretary's 10th visit to Afghanistan and ninth to Helmand province since he assumed his position as the 75th Secretary of the Navy during May 2009.
Secretary Mabus said he has seen drastic changes in the security of Afghanistan’s most hostile province throughout the past three years.
“The biggest change is just how good a job the Marines have done in this area in terms of security, in terms of making the population secure, and in terms of just the great work they have done,” Secretary Mabus said.
In addition to speaking with Marines and sailors, the secretary had an opportunity to see firsthand expeditionary energy efficient equipment Marines are currently using throughout the battlespace.
“You know Marines are the greatest expeditionary fighting force the world has ever known,” Mabus said. “One of the things that makes them expeditionary is their willingness to try new things and their willingness to do things that make them better warfighters. Energy is one of those things.”
Additionally, the secretary said he continues to be impressed by the transition of Afghan-led security operations. He credits the success of the transition to the Marines and sailors who are training their Afghan counterparts.
“What they are doing, you cannot underestimate the importance of,” Secretary Mabus said. “We are beginning to turnover security, turnover the defense of Afghanistan to Afghans, but in a way that will help keep America safe. There is no more important work the (Marines and sailors) are doing.”
Secretary Mabus took every opportunity to thank the Marines and sailors of 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, for their hard work while deployed.
“The Navy and the Marine Corps as a team is America’s away team,” Secretary Mabus said. “When we are doing our job, we’re usually a long, long way from home, but it’s the job that only we can do. It’s a job that has to be done for America. This is the greatest expeditionary fighting force the world has ever known, the Navy and Marine Corps team.”