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Friday, 22 May 2015
BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY : AFRICAN AMERICAN " SGT MAJOR BARBARA J. TITUS " WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR SEVEN BASE INSTALLATIONS IN MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDELTON, CALIFORNIA : GOES INTO THE " HALL OF BLACK GENIUS "
BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- Responsible for 65,000 service members’ quality of life and seven different installations, Marine Corps Installations West has appointed a new sergeant major.
Sergeant Maj. Jeffery H. Dixon assumed this post as the symbolic noncommissioned officers sword was relinquished by his predecessor, Sgt. Maj. Barbara J. Titus, April 16 at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
“A sergeant’s major appointment and relief ceremony in the Marine Corps matters,” said Navy Capt. Robert D. Crossan, base chaplain, MCB. “Precisely because in no other branch of service are senior enlisted leaders so joined at the hip to the commanders they serve.”
Hundreds of Marines, sailors and civilians from across the state gathered to witness the new appointment and former MCIWEST sergeant major’s retirement. The elaborate event showcased the Corps’ last mounted color guard, a 1st Marine Division Band performance, and official appearances from the surrounding area.
“I am extraordinarily happy that the sergeant’s major slating process brought a sergeant major of Sgt. Maj. Dixon’s caliber to MCIWEST, and more importantly one that came up from an installation,” said Maj. Gen. Michael R. Lehnert, commanding officer, MCIWEST. “Being a sergeant major of an installation has some additional challenges unlike anything any other unit is going to prepare you for.”
Dixon served as MCB Camp Pendleton’s previous sergeant major and will continue his 32-year Marine Corps career advising Lehnert in installation management.
“Many aspire to be a sergeant major, but those who achieve it are few,” said Gen. James T. Conway, commandant of the Marine Corps, in a letter written to MCIWEST’s retiring sergeant major. “As a teacher to young Marines, a source of wise council and as an example of those soldierly virtues we so admire, you have made a mark on the Corps that will last long after you have left our active ranks.”
Titus’ 31-year Marine Corps career came to a close during the historic relief and appointment ceremony Thursday. The retiring sergeant major was also awarded a Legion of Merit Medal in recognition of the support she provided to all those with whom she served. The St. Louis native dedicated the event in loving memory of her late father, Frank N. Titus, retired Army master sergeant.
“I am proud to serve as your commander-in-chief and to join your family, friends and colleagues in recognizing your career and accomplishments,” said Barrack H. Obama, U.S. president, in a letter written to Titus that was read aloud during the ceremony. “Throughout history the dedicated men and women of our military have protected our citizens and preserved the ideals that make our country strong.”
The rank of sergeant major is one of the oldest ranks in American history and was first used during the Revolutionary War, according to Headquarters Marine Corps’ History Division. The title refers to the commanding officer’s most senior enlisted advisor who is expected to set the example for all enlisted ranks to follow.
“I have enjoyed my tour with MCIWEST and my time in the Marine Corps,” Titus said. “Sgt. Maj. Dixon and his wife are going to make the perfect team for Marine Corps Installation’s West.”
The recent appointment marks only the third MCIWEST sergeant major appointment after the regional command’s inception in 2005. The regional consolidation was implemented to improve command and control of the major Marine Corps installations throughout the West Coast. Similar consolidations occurred throughout the Corps in 2005 forming Eastern and Western Pacific commands.
The three regional commands, Marine Corps Installations East, West and Western Pacific, organizationally align with the three Marine Expeditionary Forces to provide a single point of contact for MEF commanders to address installation support to the operating forces.
In addition to Camp Pendleton, MCIWEST overseas installation operations at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, and Mountain Warfare Training Center, Bridgeport.