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MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - Sergeant Major John L. Estrada, the 15th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, visited Camp Lejeune Friday. While on base, Estrada toured the Military Operations in Urban Terrain facility, ate at the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment chow hall, and talked to Marines from 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Force Service Support Group and Marine Corps Base.

Photo by Adam Johnston

15th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps visits Camp Lejeune

13 May 2005 | Pfc. Adam Johnston

The 15th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Sergeant Major John L. Estrada, visited Marines from 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Force Service Support Group and Marine Corps Base here Friday.

Estrada’s message to the Marines was reflective of the words inscribed on the reverse side of his challenge coin which reads, 'Perseverance during adversity' an attribute he said is common among this special breed of men and women.

“You got the word to go and you went.  When the nation called, you were the ones that answered.  No one does it as good,” said Estrada.

Unlike wars of the past where two sides stood opposite each other and pulled the trigger, the insurgent’s tactics in Operation Iraqi Freedom are somewhat unorthodox.

“The enemy is fighting like a bunch of cowards.  Rather than fight like men, they’re resorting to the use of improvised explosive devices.  They know that if they try to take us on head to head, we’ll crush ‘em,” said Estrada.

Estrada also made a point to specifically recognize and thank the Navy Corpsmen who were serving alongside the Marines.

Even a soldier in the Army who Estrada met appreciated the level of care he was receiving at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.  He didn’t want to be transferred to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C.; the Naval staff had made him feel like part of the family, according to Estrada. 

“In battle, the Corpsman is a Marine’s best friend.  There’s no one who I’d rather have beside me,” said Estrada.

During his visit, Estrada yielded the floor to other Marines.  He fielded a broad range of questions regarding the Corps’ recruiting mission as well as the Iraq and Afghanistan Campaign medals.

As the senior enlisted man, the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps has earned himself a little fanfare.  But, the way he sees it, things are quite the opposite.

“The Commandant and I are your number one fans.  You are helping over 50 million people in Iraq and Afghanistan to build an infrastructure and discover democracy.  Never be satisfied with the way business is conducted, always search for ways to improve it,” said Estrada.