Congressmen and their chiefs of staff toured the base with its commanding general and other key leaders here June 23.
The group is called Congressional Delegation Black and its members had an opportunity to gain a better understanding of Camp Pendleton units, their various missions, and how the current budgetary environment is affecting the base and its operating forces.
The event began with a brief that included the Marine Corps Installations West Command video, the installation’s mission, a Marine Air-Ground Task Force 101 brief, and a discussion on base facts, statistics and budget impacts.
Brig. Gen. Vincent A. Coglianese emphasized the size and population of the base during the brief and said, “We are here to support the operating forces.” Coglianese is the base commanding general and regional authority for five military installations in the Southwestern United States.
After attendees received an introduction brief, they went to the Wounded Warrior Battalion where they were greeted by Lt. Col. Joseph Allena, commanding officer of Wounded Warrior Battalion West, where they were briefed on treatment programs and facilities.
Next Allena gave a tour of the Wounded Warrior Hope and Care Center where the delegation was shown pools, a gym, recreational areas, and therapy areas used for rehabilitation and care of wounded service members.
The participants continued to Green Beach, where they were met by Lt. Gen. John Toolan, commanding general of I Marine Expeditionary Force to witness a live-training exercise.
Diane Black, a congresswoman for the sixth district of Tennessee, said she will be able to make better decisions after seeing the base and "talking with guys that are ‘boots on the ground.'"
Black continued, "They were telling us how old some of these amphibious vehicles are, and why it’s important to upgrade the equipment, not only to do the job better but also to keep our troops safe.”
The delegation members saw one of I MEF’s largest training exercises in action. Toolan gave a brief on operation Dawn Blitz 2013, and showed them around part of the training site. During the brief the group discussed sequestration, training, safety, unit readiness and budget impacts on the operating forces. The group also had an opportunity to meet some of the Marines participating in the training exercise.
“It’s great to be here with the men and women that are serving our country, and to say ‘thank you’ to them personally,” said Black.
Touring the base gave members of the delegation a first-hand look at base facilities, various programs used to assist service members and families, and how budget affects the operations and functions of the installation.