MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT, PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. – Newly appointed commanding general, Brig. Gen. Lori Reynolds, knows she has a tough job ahead of her leading the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, as well as the Eastern Recruiting Region.
Yet, she’s relying on her confidence in what she believes to be her greatest asset – the Marines under her command.
“Command is a blessing, especially command of Marines,” she said.
Reynolds, who pinned on her first star and took command here June 17, has been leading Marines for more than 20 years.
“These young men and women who turn into our noncommissioned officers and staff noncommissioned officers – they’re absolutely extraordinary,” she said. “If led properly, and if they know that you care about them and you’re going to take care of them and their families, they will do whatever you ask them to do. That is both a tremendous burden and responsibility, but it’s also an enormous blessing.”
Reynolds also said that Marines know how to do the most with the least, and they’re the ones who can be counted on when the going gets tough.
“I think everybody who chooses to be a Marine chooses that because they want to do something that’s important and meaningful,” she said.
Reynolds wants the Marines here to know her goal is to help them accomplish their mission.
“Whatever it is that I need to do to enable their success, that’s what I want to do,” she said.
Of her leadership philosophy, Reynolds spoke about her fervent need to look out for the Marines.
“I want to maintain a high standard; I want to take care of Marines, and I want to make sure they are better Marines for it,” she said.
The passion in her words is in keeping with her history as a commander.
“She’s a solid leader,” said Sgt. Maj. Neil O’Connell, sergeant major of I Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, Reynolds’ previous command.
O’Connell, who served as Reynolds’ senior enlisted advisor for two years, much of which was spent deployed to Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, described her as “tireless” and a “straight shooter” who “doesn’t cut any corners.”
“She has a key focus on the mission with an excellent balance of making sure the Marines are taken care of,” O’Connell said.
Reynolds also values the importance of Marines’ families and expected her leaders to share in that belief, said O’Connell.
“I learned a lot from her,” he said.
And she said she has a lot to learn during her tour at Parris Island.
“The command climate is one of the best I’ve ever seen,” she explained during her change of command ceremony. “It’s a completely positive environment. It’s a climate that I want to help foster and make this a rewarding tour for everybody assigned here.”
Reynolds is grateful for her new opportunity to influence the training and development of the prospects who will become the future of the Marine Corps.
“It is absolutely an honor to be able to recruit and then make more of these young Marines who are volunteering in a time of war,” she said.
“There are many options that America’s young men and women can take right now. For them to want to join what we do in the world’s finest fighting military force is awe-inspiring, and I am proud to be a part of it.”