1st Marine Expeditionary Force Commanding General Provides Operational Insights at 2015 MCA&F West Coast Dinner.
Feb 2, 2015 – By Roxanne Baker
More than 400 guests attended the Marine Corps Association & Foundation’s West Coast Dinner at the Carlsbad Sheraton, Calif. on Jan. 28, 2015. The annual dinner is in its fifth year and emphasizes education, networking, and most importantly, camaraderie.
The guests enjoyed a cocktail hour for meeting new people and catching up with old friends at the beautiful hotel that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. Once seated in the ballroom, the 1st Marine Division Band kicked off the night with traditional favorites. MCA&F’s West Coast Area Representative SgtMaj Frank Pulley, USMC (Ret) called to post the colors and the band played the National Anthem and Marine Corps Hymn.
Following dinner, keynote speaker Lt Gen David Berger, Commanding General, I MEF thanked everyone for attending the MCA&F dinner as a show of support for the Marine Corps at large. He said the association is a “living, breathing organization” that fuels programs and awards for the Corps that would otherwise not be possible.
“They recognize us, they archive our history,” Berger said. “…They turn around every dollar back in the Marine Corps. It’s irreplaceable. I don’t think a lot of Marines know that.”
Berger presented a full update on the Marine Corps’ West Coast operations during his keynote speech. Units are currently deployed as a 911 response force in the Middle East and are building and enhancing relationships throughout the Pacific, he said. The shift to the Pacific is in full swing, especially in Japan and Australia.
“It’s a pretty exciting time to be in the Marine Corps,” Berger said.
Closer to home in California, the MEF has increased training with the local emergency response teams to prepare for natural disasters. They are working with the police and fire departments throughout California to address the needs of communities throughout the state in case of a serious earthquake or wild fire.
“In every part of the MAGTF, your Marines are really knocking it out of the park every day,” Berger said.
Berger also addressed the unique opportunity the MCA&F dinner provided by bringing together Marines and professionals in the private technology sector. He suggested sharing ideas between the two groups to improve the Marine Corps’ capabilities. Innovation in technology sets a challenging pace to keep up with, he said, and both the military and civilian communities need to work together.
“We need equipment that’s expeditionary, energy efficient, reprogrammable and light,” Berger said.
Those ideas should start with “bottom up innovation” that address the needs of junior leadership, specifically sergeants, staff sergeants, lieutenants and captains. The Marines and the professionals in the private sector might not always speak the same language, he said, but should use their different approaches to create gear modernization in the field.
“We’ll miss ideas if we all think the same,” Berger said. “This is the whole team pulling the same direction.”
A special thank you to the sponsors of the West Coast Dinner: Technologies, USAA, Nammo, Booz Allen Hamilton, Cask LLC, Harris, Sierra Nevada Corporation, AAFMAA, ADS, Inc, Military By Owner Advertising, Veterans United, ViaSat, UPS, Raytheon, MSC Direct, Oshkosh, Divine Imaging, AXT, City of Oceanside, Gartner, Gov X, IE Pacific, Visit Oceanside and Engility.
The Marine Corps Association & Foundation hosts more than a dozen professional and awards dinners, luncheons, receptions, and related events to foster professional development and encourage camaraderie each year in keeping with our tradition of “Advancing Leadership and Recognizing Excellence Since 1913.”
We were very blessed to be able to attend the Marine Corps Association & Foundation’s 2015 West Coast Dinner and be among so many of America’s beloved Marines and their families. We are deeply honored to be a member and supporter of the Marine Corps Association & Foundation which has been proudly supporting America’s Marines for over 100+ years. You can support them also! Their website is https://www.mca-marines.org.