MARINE COPRS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Marines, sailors, friends and family members gathered at the Combat Center’s Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Gray Field Aug. 7, for the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment’s change of command and relief and appointment ceremonies where the battalion received a new commanding officer and sergeant major.
Lt. Col. James Woulfe relinquished command to Lt. Col. Clay Tipton, and Sgt. Maj. James McCook handed over the senior enlisted seat in the battalion to Sgt. Maj. Troy Black during the ceremony.
Tipton returned to the Combat Center after serving with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, and Black, a Louisville, Ky., native, returned after serving as the sergeant major of the Officer Candidates School at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.
In addition to training Marines at OCS, Black has also served in various billets aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C., and as the regimental drill master.
Other highlights of Black’s career include his involvement in the Malta Summit between President George H.W. Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, and Operations Desert Storm, Desert Shield, Millennium Falcon, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
Tipton, an Orrville, Ohio, native and former member of 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, said he is happy to return to the Combat Center and the 7th Marines.
“I was obviously excited, honored and humbled,” said Tipton. “I think the desert is a great place to challenge Marines. Marines here work hard, train hard and are focused on preparing themselves to go fight battles. My philosophy here is to accomplish the mission while taking care of Marines and keeping them combat ready through training.”
He also said he expects four major things from the Marines and sailors under his charge.
“The things that are important to me and what I expect are good order and discipline, mental and physical hardness, doing the right thing and having strong backs and hard feet.”
The battalion is gearing up to head to the Mountain Warfare Training Center, Bridgeport, Calif., next week and is slated to deploy next year.
“The Marine Corps’ first priority is to accomplish the mission at hand,” Tipton said. “The first and foremost thing in my mind is to get this battalion combat ready, and if sent in harm’s way, to bring everyone back home safely.”