Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England visited Marine Corps Base Quantico Thursday, 29 July 2004 to present Marine Corps Systems Command with the Navy Unit Commendation for meritorious achievement in the performance of planning, acquisition and fielding of essential warfighting equipment and assets for Marine Corps Operating Forces in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM II from 1 September 2003 to 1 April 2004. The Secretary of the Navy said, “I am keenly aware of what Marine Corps Systems Commend does…we could not do the job that we do if everyone of you did not do your job well...For the Marines in Iraq, I thank you.” He said that he met several Marines at aid stations in Iraq whose lives were saved by equipment provided by Marine Corps Systems Command. The command used a revolutionary urgent needs statement process where commanders from the field talked directly with MARCORSYSCOM telling them exactly what was needed. One such statement requested Small Arms Protective Inserts (body armor) for Marines fighting in Iraq. Combining available resources, the command sent over 45,000 small arms protective inserts to the field, which saved many lives. The command also provided other life saving equipment to the field such as the Forward Resuscitative Surgery System. This system consists of a shelter, limited medical equipment and supplies, selected personnel from a surgical company, and organic support from the Forces Service Support group to sustain a 72-hour mission or 18 patients without resupply thereby enhancing wounded Marines survival in combat zones. The command provided critical force protection and life saving equipment. For the presentation, MARCORSYSCOM’S Brigadier General William D. Catto displayed much of the equipment that the command provides to Marines in Iraq and equipment under development for deployment in the near future. Equipment displayed included armor-hardened vehicles, non-lethal weapons, anti-tank weapons, the unit operations center and other displays. After the presentation, the Secretary said he wanted everyone to exercise their right and freedom to vote and that everyone should practice safety including Marines, their families and civilians who impact the Marines.