Operating out of the finely appointed and very comfortable West Pac Lodge on Camp Foster was like all else during this trip, a real treat. It provided an opportunity to meet Marines and their families as well reminding me once again that there are many wives, husbands, and children who are a part of the Marine Corps family. I was very impressed by the thought and consideration given the families of Marines with services that support, entertain, educate, and in general serve to strengthen the family unit. While one Marine may be fighting a war overseas, he or she leaves behind many who are emotionally involved as well. This is a fact that I didn’t fully appreciate until coming to Japan, and one that I will not soon forget.
While at Camp Foster, Daryl Avery and I worked Camps:

Daryl not only made sure that I was taken care of on a daily basis, he even donated his free time to make my stay an unforgettable one, as did many others. Our days started early with Daryl at the wheel and me half asleep while his phone rang non-stop. There were constant challenges that had to be attended to due to the logistics and scope of the Back-In-The-Saddle safety stand down. Whatever came up was dealt with expeditiously and professionally as we forged ahead and it was truly exciting and very satisfying. Each session provided a new group of Marines, and each day a new location. (Sometimes multiple locations in one day!) The Semper Ride crew was ever present and helped me immeasurably with their expertise and support despite the fact that they had their hands full with their own responsibilities.

As the week wound down, I was relieved yet saddened as this had been one hell of an experience. The last evening there I went out with the gang from the MCB Installation Safety Office: Shawn Curtis, Joe Jacobs, and Daryl Avery, and the entire Semper Ride crew for a farewell dinner that was, as usual incredible. Awards were presented by Joe Jacobs of the Safety Office and kind words were offered.

I feel indebted to the United States Marine Corps for all that they did for me personally as well as professionally during my visit to Japan. I was moved at times to contemplative silence by the men and women that I met and I leave Japan feeling energized, humbled, and most grateful for having had this opportunity.

God Bless the men and women of The United States Marine Corps.

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