The Corps’ top leader met with city officials and Marines on duty for Marine Week Boston Thursday at various locations around the city.
Gen. James T. Conway, commandant of the Marine Corps, spent half a day visiting Boston Common, Faneuil Hall and the USS Constitution to see the culture of the Corps being shared with Bostonians.
“I’m really encouraged,” said Conway. “Everything I hear is about the turnout, the reception that the Marines have received in Boston, and that all the displays and all the interaction with the people have been very good.”
The commandant said he was pleased to be able to witness firsthand how the American public was pleased with the new equipment and vehicles he has fought to fund throughout the years.
The commandant toured the area of static displays and took the time to speak to Marines from across the Corps.
“Well, the first thing going through my head was ‘Hopefully the area is clean, the commandant likes the way our weapons are staged,’ all that stuff,” explained Cpl. Brian Smith, a wireman with 3rd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment.
“A lot of us out here are reservists so we [rarely] get to see the commandant,” said the 24-year-old Mountain View, Mo., native. “You get a little nervous to an extent, but his personality makes you think that he’s just another Marine so you tend to relax.”
Staff Sgt. Zackary Smith, a platoon sergeant with 3rd Bn., 24th Marines said after returning from Iraq in February, the commandant’s visit was a great way to acknowledge the battalion’s success at Marine Week.
Marine Week gives Bostonians an ‘all-access’ pass to the Corps’ culture and celebrates the tradition of Boston support for their men and women in uniform.
“It’s important for the commandant to witness the interaction the Marine have had with the Boston public,” the staff sergeant said. “A lot of the people here in Boston have come out three to four times just to see the Marines. I’m glad the commandant could see that.”
Staff Sgt Smith, a native of Springfield, Mo., said the junior Marines, a sentiment shared by Conway, drive the week’s success.
Conway said though this is the second year of Marine Week, “It’s the first time we’ve seen this kind of activity with a Marine Week.”
“This one I think we’ve done right,” he said. “So this will be the model.”