CAMP HURRICANE POINT, Iraq -- General Bob Magnus, assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, visited the Marines of 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment at Hurricane Point in Ar Ramadi, Iraq on Nov. 1.
More than 50 Marines and sailors gathered in the battalion conference room for the chance to meet the assistant commandant.
“This was a rare opportunity,” said Pvt. Jaime A. Bernal, 19-year-old radio operator for 1/6. “I never thought I’d get to meet such a high ranking officer in the Marine Corps.”
Magnus spoke to the Marines and sailors about the situation in Iraq, the culture of the country, and protective equipment in development by the Marine Corps.
Through his speech to the group and a brief question period, Magnus offered a unique perspective to the Marines and sailors.
“It was good to get a higher-up point of view on what and how we’re doing out here,” said Lance Cpl. Keith A. Shapiro, a 20-year-old ammo technician for the battalion.
Following his meeting with the troops, Magnus took a few moments to discuss local operations with the battalion commander before heading over to the battalion chow hall.
At the chow hall, Magnus sat down to lunch with nine Marines and one sailor.
The group, ranging in rank from private to general, ate bologna sandwiches while discussing Roman battles, service members right to vote, vehicle armor kits and the upcoming Marine Corps birthday.
“He just wanted to show his support, talk to us and wish us an early happy birthday,” said Bernal, a native of Fort Worth, Texas.
Sitting across from the second most powerful Marine in the Corps, the group found themselves surprisingly at ease for the occasion.
The demeanor of Magnus let the Marines relax and enjoy the meeting, said Shapiro.
“I’ve never spoken with a general before, it was surprising how down to earth he was,” said Shapiro, a native of Houston, Texas. “He treated us all like men and we appreciate that.”
Each servicemember at the table received a coin from the general before the lunch concluded.
The general departed Camp Hurricane Point shortly after the lunch, leaving behind a group of appreciative Marines and sailors.
“It was an honor to meet him,” said Bernal.