7/22/2010 By Pfc. Garry J. Welch, Marine Corps Bases Japan
CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan — Maj. Gen. Mary Ann Krusa-Dossin, commanding general of Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler will relinquish command to Maj. Gen. (select) Peter J. Talleri, during a change of command ceremony tonight at 6 p.m.
Krusa-Dossin, who entered the Marine Corps as a second lieutenant in August 1975 said she is excited about retiring.
“I am excited because I believe this will be our last move, and that we will be able to establish permanency,” Krusa-Dossin said about her and her family.
“The other part is that every one of us has to take [the uniform] off at one point in time,” she added. “Although in our heart we will always be Marines. We are the service that says ‘Marine for life’ and we mean that. The connection to the Marine Corps will always be there.”
Krusa-Dossin said the best memories she has from serving are meeting her husband, who she has now been married to for almost 32 years; having her son, who was born in Iwakuni Japan during her second tour; and most important, the great privilege of being able to lead Marines and have a positive influence on their lives.
While serving as the commanding general of Camp Butler, the Marines serving with Krusa-Dossin “provided unparalleled support for the III Marine Expeditionary Force,” she added. “That was our mission, and we’ve done a darn fine job of that.”
There were also improvements to the quality of life for the Marines, sailors and their families, she said. She mentioned noteworthy improvements to youth programs but particularly to the clubs on base.
“While most installations stateside are closing clubs, we are doing everything in our power to keep them open here just because of the fact that we are over here and far from home,” the general said. “We try to make the clubs as up to date as possible; we put a lot of effort into that.”
Krusa-Dossin plans to retire in Florida where she currently owns a home. She also intends on taking time to decompress from her 35 years in the Corps and visit family and friends she hasn’t seen in a long time.
However, before she begins her new life outside of uniform, Krusa-Dossin offers some words of wisdom to the Marines she will be leaving.
“My advice for the Marines remaining on the island is to remember why you’re here to begin with,” Krusa-Dossin said.
“You are here in support of a very important security alliance between the United States government and the government of Japan,” she added. “Always remember the fact that you are an unofficial ambassador for the United States. You always want to be a good neighbor here. Take care of each other.”
She continued by reminding people to look at the positive and enjoy what Okinawa has to offer.
Marines should not be afraid to try something new like snorkeling, scuba diving or free golf lessons.
“You have the opportunity to learn about a different culture – use that opportunity,” Krusa-Dossin concluded.