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Gen. Robert B. Neller speaks to Marines for the first time as commandant at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., Oct. 1, 2015. Neller focused on people, readiness, training, Naval integration and modernization during his speech.

Photo by Cpl. Kathy Nunez

Gen. Neller begins initial tour with Marines as commandant

2 Oct 2015 | Cpl. Kathy Nunez The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

Gen. Robert B. Neller made his first visit with Marines as the 37th Commandant of the Marine Corps at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., Oct. 1, 2015. Neller relieved Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, Jr. as commandant Sept. 24, 2015.  

On his first day as commandant, Neller released his first official message to the Corps in a letter. In it, he lists what Marines should expect from their leaders and what leaders should expect from their Marines. Dunford’s Commandant’s Planning Guidance will remain in effect. Neller plans to add a fragmentation order by the new year.

Neller is traveling around the Corps to meet Marines, hear what they have to say, and to let them know what’s on his mind.

"The commandant is going to share his leadership guidance,” said Lt. Col. Eric Dent, the commandant’s public affairs officer. “It’s important for Marines to hear it from him. He’s an engaged leader who cares about his Marines, and also wants to know what’s on their minds.”

During his visit, Neller reiterated his message to the Corps and explained what his five areas of focus are: people, readiness, training, naval integration, and modernization and technology.

“At the end of the day, we can have the greatest gear in the world and a lot of money, but if our Marines were not the quality people they are, we would never be able to do what we do,” Neller said. “It all starts and ends with people.”

Neller also talked about what he thinks is the basic principle behind everything we do as Marines.

“Everything we do is about warfighting,” Neller said. “We don’t do anything that won’t make us more ready and effective on the battlefield.”

Neller stated that his overall goal is for Marines to be successful and that he needs them to pursue education, whether it be through PMEs or by going to college.

Neller plans to visit Marines around the Corps over the next 90 days, before putting out his guidance.

“I’m going to travel and talk to Marines and hear what they have to say,” he said. “After this first year, I’ll publish something to list what I’m thinking. The title of that document will be ‘Innovate, Adapt and Win.’”

As the commandant finished his first visit with the Marines at Quantico, a lance corporal in the audience asked him what about the Marine Corps motivates him the most.

“You, the Marines!” Neller said. “You guys are the Marine Corps now. Can I keep up with you? No. But, can I try? Yeah, I’ll die trying.”