PANZER KASERNE, Germany — U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa welcomed their new senior enlisted leader with the relief of Sgt. Maj. Ronald L. Green, the outgoing sergeant major, and the appointment of Sgt. Maj. James J. McCook, the incoming sergeant major, May 29, at U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart.
Green will transfer to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif., and McCook comes from serving as Regimental Sergeant Major, Recruit Training Regiment, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego.
“He was carefully screened for the position and comes with a great reputation,” said Lt. Gen. John M. Paxton Jr., commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Africa, about McCook. “We have great expectations that he will take us to the next level!”
Under unique circumstances, McCook receives two commands with the emblematic “passing of the sword,” a Marine Corps tradition that signifies the transfer of responsibility, from both Lt. Gen. Dennis J. Hejlik, commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe, and Paxton, commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Africa.
During the ceremony, Green spoke to the faith he has in the Marines and their commitment to the Corps, the unique setting of a “purple” environment, referring to the joint-service nature of the U.S. European and Africa Commands in an Army community, and the importance of “one team, one fight.”
McCook spoke about the appreciation he felt to join the new command and take on the responsibilities of the sergeant major in an environment that is unique to that of other Marine Corps commands.
Many were in attendance to witness McCook take charge and to see Green, someone they have gotten to know professionally and personally since he arrived in 2010, for his final farewell, to include: Gen. Carter F. Ham, commander of U.S. Africa Command, Fleet Master Chief Petty Officer Roy M. Maddocks Jr., U.S. European Command senior enlisted leader, Chief Master Sgt Jack Johnson Jr., AFRICOM senior enlisted leader, Ambassador Lawrence E. Butler, civilian deputy to the EUCOM commander, old colleagues, representatives from the United Service Organization, and other members from the military Stuttgart community.
“Whether he was talking to a brigadier general or a lance corporal, he always gave his full attention,” said Paxton.
For his leadership, achievements and service to the command, Green was awarded the Legion of Merit, receiving a gold star in lieu of his second award.
“In body and spirit, through initiative and teamwork, Green transmitted those attributes to everyone at Marine Forces Europe and Marine Forces Africa. That’s why he’s a great sergeant major,” added Paxton.