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Head Marine Faces Questions About The Impact Of Deployments On Families

Gen. Robert Neller, commandant of the Marine Corps, speaks in San Diego, Sept...

Photo by Steve Walsh

Above: Gen. Robert Neller, commandant of the Marine Corps, speaks in San Diego, Sept. 12, 2018.

The commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Robert Neller addressed the San Diego Military Advisory Council monthly breakfast on Wednesday.

A spouse of a Marine officer at Camp Pendleton took the opportunity to ask the Neller how the Corps is supporting families, who have faced continual deployment since the War on Terror began after 9/11 — nearly 17 years ago.

“We have seen family readiness change over the last several years. Can you talk a little bit about your perspective on those challenges?” Meredith Lozar, Marine spouse and volunteer with Blue Star Families.

Neller acknowledged the stress on families.

“It’s tough. It’s tough. I can’t change the fact that the service member is gone and the family is back in the states,” Neller said. “All I can do is our best to prepare the family. And make sure they are safe and secure and have good communication with the unit.”

Video by Kris Arciaga

The Marines recently scaled back paid staff who acted as liaisons with families. October marks the 17th year since the war began in Afghanistan. The present U.S. strategy is bringing more Marines in direct contact with the Taliban.

Neller noted the length of the confrontation.

“I know people may be tired of this. I’m sure, the Afghan people have been at war since the 1980s, so I’m sure they’re tired of this,” Neller said. “So, I think we’re at an opportunity point, so let’s ask for everyone to be a little more patient. And play this out and see what happens.”

Military Advisory Council also used the occasion to unveil a new program to help San Diego defense companies branch out in the civilian sector.

Gen. Robert Neller expressed sympathy but few solutions to a Marine spouse concerned about the pace of deployment that remains high 17 years after Sept. 11, 2001.

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