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thedrifter
06-29-06, 04:17 AM
June 28, 2006

Hagee takes responsibility for Marines’ conduct

By Christian Lowe
Times staff writer


After a whirlwind tour of Marine bases in Iraq, Asia and the U.S. to reinforce “core values” after recent war crimes allegations that have shaken the service to its roots, the Corps’ top general took responsibility for the conduct of his troops and said that accusations of criminal acts were an aberration.

“I am responsible for what goes on. My concern is for all the Marines,” Commandant Gen. Mike Hagee told Marine Corps Times on Tuesday. “And I want to really ensure that those Marines understand that I am really quite proud of what they are doing out there.”


Hagee launched his tour of bases in late May after briefing Capitol Hill lawmakers of a soon-to-be-completed investigation into the alleged murder of Iraqi civilians in Hadithah in November. Military investigators are looking into whether a small group of revenge-seeking Marines rampaged through the Iraqi town, carrying out a five-hour killing spree that left as many as 24 Iraqi civilians dead, including women and children.

Though Hagee declined to shed light on the investigation’s findings — which many expect to be damaging to the Corps’ image — he has said any wrongdoing will be prosecuted fully.

“The investigations will go on, and we’ll find out what happened,” he said.

Hagee toured eight Marine bases in Iraq and Kuwait in late May to ensure Marines understood the gravity of the situation and to “reinforce the ideals, values and standards for which Marines have been known for 200 years,” the Corps said in a news release.

What he found in the combat zone was high morale and troops undistracted by the Hadithah controversy.

“I had one sergeant stand up and say, ‘Hey, sir, that’s not us. That’s not what we’re about. And that’s not what we do,’ ” Hagee said. “And I think he’s got that absolutely right.”

Aside from units in Iraq, Hagee visited II Marine Expeditionary Force leathernecks at Camp Lejeune, N.C., in early June, traveling to Camp Pendleton, Calif., and the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms in mid-June to meet with I MEF Marines before going on to III MEF bases in Japan for several days in late June.

“A large majority of these guys and gals are making very good decisions in a very dangerous, very complex battlefield — and they know it,” Hagee said.

Ellie

yellowwing
06-29-06, 09:10 AM
“I had one sergeant stand up and say, ‘Hey, sir, that’s not us. That’s not what we’re about. And that’s not what we do,’ ” Hagee said. “And I think he’s got that absolutely right.”...“A large majority of these guys and gals are making very good decisions in a very dangerous, very complex battlefield — and they know it,” Hagee said.
Our Marines have some very big brass ones!