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Marine commandant praises readiness, retention of corps

By Jay F. Marks Published: July 28, 2006
Conversations ceased abruptly Thursday afternoon as the commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps walked into the room to scattered shouts of “Attention on deck.”

Gen. Michael W. Hagee directed the assembled Marines to stand at ease and slipped easily into the crowd at the Oklahoma City Golf and Country Club.

In his remarks at a reception hosted by the Marine Corps Coordinating Council of Oklahoma, Hagee said the corps is stronger than it has ever been during his 38-year career.

He told the stories of two Marines to illustrate his point.

One was a first sergeant who took on a building full of insurgents during a battle in Iraq to rescue two wounded comrades, suffering seven gunshot wounds in the process. The other was a Marine on leave who inspired everyone at a Florida gym to stand at attention at noon each day when a local radio station plays the national anthem.

Hagee said their stories illustrate the impact of people committed to doing the right thing.

“I’m proud to say we’ve got about 180,000 of them in the Marine Corps today,” he said.

Hagee described the corps’ efforts to train a new army in Iraq, collect intelligence for the global war on terrorism in Africa and assist in disaster relief efforts on several continents.

“Those men and women are doing a terrific job across the globe,” he said.

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