Black's Replacement: Marine Corps Picks Next Sergeant Major

Sgt. Maj. Carlos Ruiz at a post and relief ceremony.
Sgt. Maj. Carlos Ruiz addresses the audience following a post and relief ceremony at Marine Corps Support Facility New Orleans, Jan. 22, 2021. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. James Stanfield)

Sgt. Maj. Carlos Ruiz was selected Monday as the next enlisted leader of the Marine Corps, as the services and Joint Chiefs prepare for a new crop of leadership.

Ruiz is set to replace Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Troy Black and will be the 20th man to fill the role. The decision was unveiled in a brief official message released Monday.

The changeover is set for Aug. 8 when a relief and appointment ceremony is planned, the service said. Ruiz is the command senior enlisted leader for Marine Corps Forces Reserve and Marines Corps Forces South, but his background includes a plethora of assignments and duty stations.

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After joining the Marines in 1993, Ruiz was first stationed on Okinawa as a warehouse clerk, then he went on to a logistics base in California, an official biography said.

From there, Ruiz served tours as both a recruiter and then a drill instructor. He also deployed several times throughout his career to Iraq and Afghanistan.

He's earned a Legion of Merit, a Bronze Star Medal with combat distinguishing device and the Combat Action Ribbon with one gold star, as well as numerous personal awards.

He will be taking the post from Black, who took on the job himself in 2019.

Black's background as a machine gunner and his battlefield accomplishments drew attention early in his tenure, but he went on to speak regularly about improving quality of life for average Marines.

Black frequently spoke to the press and Congress about policy changes or improvements that were being made with an eye towards making service in the Corps less challenging. In those engagements, he would often reference his wife, a retired first sergeant, as a source of inside knowledge on the challenges that come with a military lifestyle.

Black also tried to be a source of inspiration and comfort for Marines, especially in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and suicide bombing at Hamid Karzai Airport that claimed the lives of 11 Marines, one sailor and one soldier.

"We both believe -- without question -- that your service was meaningful, powerful, and important," Gen. David Berger and Black wrote in a joint letter in 2021. "We value human life, and we want to believe that what Marines have done in Afghanistan made a difference."

Last week, the Marine Corps also announced the man who will replace Berger, the current top officer in the Marines. Last Wednesday, President Joe Biden nominated the Marine Corps' current assistant commandant, Gen. Eric Smith, to lead the service after Berger's retirement later this summer.

-- Konstantin Toropin can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @ktoropin.

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