By Master Sgt. Brenda Varnadore
HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan — Major Gen. Charles M. Gurganus, Regional Command (Southwest) commanding general, and RC(SW) Sgt. Maj. Harrison Tanksley flew throughout southern Helmand province to shake every Marine’s hand in honor of the 237th Marine Corps Birthday, Nov. 10.
Major Gen. Gregg Sturdevant, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) commanding general, visited the northern areas of Helmand province to wish them a happy birthday.
During each stop, Maj. Gen. Gurganus and Sgt. Maj. Tanksley addressed all available Marines and posed for group photographs, whether there were 10 Marines or 50 on the outlying bases.
“I just came down here to say ‘Happy Birthday,’” said the general. “There is no place I would rather be than out here with you on the birthday. Every other Marine around the world who is celebrating tonight is talking about you out here. You are doing what they all want to be doing right now. And you don’t have to make sure your ribbons are on straight.”
The general also reflected on the accomplishments of Marines in Helmand province.
“You guys have done a great job out here putting the (Afghan National Security Forces) in the lead,” said Maj. Gen. Gurganus. “Are they Marines? No. But, we don’t need them to be Marines. We need them to be able to provide security for their people, and they are doing that.”
Sergeant Maj. Tanksley emphasized the general’s comments to each group.
“Marines have been performing tremendous acts for 237 years,” said Tanksley. “You all are no different. You make the commanding general and I proud on a daily basis. On this birthday of our Corps, we are honored and privileged to come out and see each and every one of you.”
The general also requested one thing from the Marines as he spoke to each one, whether in a group formation or on duty in a guard tower.
“Next time you call home to your wife or your mother, or any of your family, tell them I said thank you,” said Maj. Gen. Gurganus. “Without their love and support, we would not be as successful as we are today. For that, I am thankful.”
Major Gen. Gurganus and Sgt. Maj. Tanksley stopped at 11 bases in southern Helmand province, including a stop at Camp Dwyer for a cake cutting ceremony. They finished the tour at Camp Leatherneck where they finished the night with the RC(SW) cake cutting ceremony.