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Sen. Edwards Visits Marines

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NEW RIVER — Sen. John Edwards spent Wednesday on the coast with the Marines. The visit was important for the senator, who is on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which gathers information to safeguard Americans overseas.

Edwards spent a few hours touring the Marine Corps Air Station New River. Edwards said he wanted to see what was going on, especially right now, but he also wanted to let the Marines know America is behind them as the war on terrorism looms.

"I wanted to make sure that the men and women who work here, the men and women who give their lives to defend us, particularly in this time of national crisis, that we're dealing with right now, that we depend on them. We need to be there for them," Edwards said.

Marine Corps Air Station New River and Camp LeJeune will probably be a big part of any U.S. retaliation. The mood is serious, but Marines said it was a morale booster to have Edwards visit.

"Sometimes they see that people are out here and they care about what they're doing and their jobs take on new importance. People want to work harder, they want to do better because they see people really do care about what they're doing," Sgt. Jonathan Agee said.

Edwards also watched a simulated combat room where Marines had to make split-second decisions with different scenarios.

"The single most striking thing is how much they love their country, and how they're prepared to do whatever is necessary to defend it," Edwards said.

"The men and women aboard the air station, as well as Camp LeJeune, we're ready to go. All our military leaders and our national leaders just have to say go, and we're ready to go," commanding officer Col. Dennis Bartels said.