Maj. Gen. Glenn Walters didn’t get to his position as commanding general of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing without being a little perceptive.
Walters was speaking to a group of about 1,500 2nd MAW Marines and sailors Friday morning at Cherry Point, right before they were about to be dismissed for a long holiday weekend for Veterans Day and the Marine Corps birthday.
“Anybody want me to get off this stage so you can get back to your units and get ready for your 96,” Walters asked of the upcoming four-day holiday.
The group of Marines in front of him erupted.
Walters led the group on a traditional morning run in celebration of the Marine Corps’ 237th birthday on Friday.
“Thank you for the run,” Walters told the Marines and sailors. “You make an old guy motivated.”
Walters led the run along with Sgt. Maj. Lisa K. Nilsson, the sergeant major of 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward).
Marines and sailors followed behind in their squadrons, shouting cadences along the three-mile route and carrying the flags of the Marine Corps and their units.
After the run on a cold but sunny and cloudless morning, the group formed on the parade grounds in front of the 2nd MAW headquarters building to hear Walters’ address.
“I just want to take this opportunity to say how proud I am of what you’ve done the past six months and really for 2nd MAW through this conflict,” he told them.
He said he expected many of the Marines and sailors to be deployed again.
“A lot of you will be going forward again. A lot of you have been forward with the 2nd MAW,” Walters said. “It’s amazing to me how we can sustain that kind of dedication to country. If we didn’t have it, we wouldn’t have the kind of country that we live in now.”
Walters also expressed appreciation for their work when so many are deployed around the world.
“There’s very few of you,” he said. “If you look around — and I’ve got the best vantage point right here — it looks like we have a lot of people in this wing, and we do. But we never, ever have enough, not for what’s going on in the world today and not for what our nation needs us to do.”
He said the quality group of Marines and sailors made his job easier.
“There is no A team in this wing,” Walters said. “Everybody’s A team, which makes it easy because we can fill requirements across the globe and we know that whoever we put in is going to fulfill those requirements.”
He said he had recently met with Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who said the current group of Marines is adding to the legacy of the Corps.
“It makes me very, very proud to hear the Secretary of the Navy tell us that,” he said. “Take that with you. Always keep that with you because no matter what you do 30 years from now, there’s a part of you that will always wear this colored uniform and you will take that ethos with you until the last days of your life.”
The Marines and sailors were not alone on their run. Many lined up along the route to cheer and shout encouragement. Elisha Baker, who works at Cherry Point, said she came out because she had a lot of close friends participating in the run.
“I want them to now that we support them,” she said of the military. “They work hard to support the fleet, and this is just another way for us to show our support on their birthday and to show them that we love them and are behind them.”