Every American should see what I saw at Camp Fuji. While we hear about our Marines and their actions daily through our media outlets, it is awe inspiring to meet them face to face and experience their passion, dedication, enthusiasm, patriotism, and professional discipline with which they conduct themselves. I was truly humbled by the presence of one group awaiting deployment to Afghanistan. The word HERO is thrown about loosely these days, but I am convinced that I have met the real mccoy.
Camp Fuji is a training facility that teaches but is not limited to: small arms fire, artillery practice, demolition of ordinance, (roadside bombs) and they have been known to toss a few hand grenades. I met Marines who have seen action in Iraq and Afghanistan and it was amazing to hear them speak with such a ‘matter of fact” attitude of the work that they have been involved with while there. These are a bright, highly motivated group and it is astounding the amount of education that they receive regarding the conduct that is expected of them. They are well trained in decision making quickly and effectively while under extreme conditions of stress and much of what they do is to promote good relations with the indigenous population and improve the quality of their lives.
The complexity of their mission might be best understood by the following incident: A father clutching a young girl was spotted running towards a group of Marines. As he approached, it was apparent that the girl was injured and he explained that a bomb had gone off near her and left her with severe injuries. Experience has shown that the most likely scenario is that the bomb that injured the girl was one that her father was working on to be used against the Marines, and yet the Marines used every medial protocol at their disposal to save this young child’s life all the while knowing that the device was probably meant for use against them. This type of challenge is an every day occurrence for our men and women who fight to maintain our freedom. The restraint with which they must execute their duties is unimaginable for you and I!
The honor that has been bestowed on me by my opportunity to work with the United States Marine Corps is second to none in my life. A very heartfelt thanks to those men and women that extended every courtesy imaginable to me during my time at Camp Fuji.
Colonel David L. Coggins
Mister Charvetz E. Scott
Ms. Minae Ikenga
Mister Darrell Lawson
Cpl. Michael Hartigan