MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - An unorthodox post-Afghanistan deployment brief took place aboard Camp Pendleton Jan. 31.
Bonnie Amos, the wife of Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos, met with Marine spouses at the Marine Corps Family Team Building Center here to talk about her recent travels overseas to visit troops at the forward edge of the battlefield and abroad.
She traveled with Gen. Amos and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Micheal P. Barrett, and spent the holidays in December 2012 visiting select posts throughout Afghanistan in an effort to experience deployment life with Marines. Her mission was to simply convey her experiences during her journey throughout Helmand province in her own words to military spouses on the home front.
After a successful tour meeting Marines of all ranks and serving Christmas dinner at Camp Leatherneck, Mrs. Amos came home with renewed sense of deployment life.
She said she believes the reason Marines have such high esprit de corps during combat deployments is due to the love and support they receive from their families back home.
“I really and truly believe the Marines perform so well and so professionally because of the connections he has with his family and loved ones at home,” Mrs. Amos said. “They matter so much to us, and they need to know that in order to function out there.”
The conference was comprised of spouses who are married to Marines who serve with 1st Marine Division units or under I Marine Expeditionary Force. Her presentation included a vibrant slideshow of photos from her travels and descriptions of her many stops at patrol bases and outposts. She shared heartfelt anecdotes of her unique encounters with Marines and their counterparts, and connected with her audience through humor and familiarity.
“She’s just like of us,” said Megan Correa, wife of Chief Warrant Officer 3 Francisco Correa-Hernandez of 11th Marine Regiment. “She took the time out of her busy life to share these stories with us, which says a lot. She was personable and very endearing. I’m pretty sure she made eye contact with every single person here.”
Aside from her “engaging” personality and her “hilarious” wit, Bridget Haulman, a Camp Pendleton native and wife of Staff Sgt. Jacob Haulman of 1st Radio Battalion, said the most intriguing aspect of Mrs. Amos’ “debrief” is the common grounds she shared with the spouses.
“I never thought of her as someone who would have the exact same thoughts, concerns or feelings I have for my husband and his time in the Marine Corps,” said Haulman, a native of Puyallup, Wash. “She went through the same struggles that all of us go through, and it was very helpful to get her perspective.”
As her end of tour presentation drew to a close, spouses were afforded the opportunity to ask Mrs. Amos questions and meet her. She said it was just as much as an honor to talk to the spouses of 1st Marine Division units, as it was to deploy to visit her Marines.