MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Headquarters Battalion welcomed a new sergeant major when Sgt. Maj. James D. Walsh relieved Sgt. Maj. Mark M. Geletko during a post and relief and retirement ceremony March 5 at the Combat Center’s Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Gray Field.
Geletko also received a Meritorious Service Medal during the ceremony for his performance as the battalion sergeant major.
Walsh is slated to continue yet another tour of duty aboard the installation, where he has spent a significant portion of his career.
“I was formerly the sergeant major of 3rd [Combat Engineer Battalion] before coming to Headquarters,” the Rochester, N. Y., native said. “I was in seven different battalions around base as either a first sergeant or sergeant major.”
Walsh, originally an infantry Marine, has served 15 years aboard the installation during his career, which began in early 1985. He said during his tenure in Headquarters Bn., he intends to do his best on a daily basis.
“I’m going to bring my ‘A’ game every single day for the battalion and the Marines,” he said. “I’ve always been ready for any challenge the Marine Corps has to offer.”
Walsh said he has changed over command with Geletko before, and was thankful for the solid foundation Geletko always left behind.
He added that Geletko is always humble about what he has achieved, because he often jokes that Walsh had to clean up after him, but it was never the case.
Geletko gave thanks to everyone who supported him throughout his career.
“I’d like to thank everyone in Headquarters Bn., for their professionalism and hard work over the past two years,” said the Pittsburgh native. “It’s been a great twilight tour, and I’m grateful to my family and all the Marines for their hard work.”
Geletko said he intends to keep in touch with installation personnel and in particular the sports community, where he is already well-known as the Fight Club 29 coach.
“I’m going to be staying in the area,” he said. “I have a lead on a couple of jobs around base and I’m going to stay with Fight Club, especially.”
Geletko also ushered words of encouragement and thanks to all the service member athletes he has worked with during his time with Headquarters Bn.
“I feel like I can teach kindergarten after coaching the fight club all this time,” he chuckled. “We had a good run with the football team as well. One base championship, as well as a runner-up and a Best of the West Championship in football made for a good time with the team.”
Lt. Col. Brandon D. McGowan, the Headquarters Bn., commanding officer, and a Mission Viejo, Calif., native, spoke on behalf of the character of his outgoing sergeant major.
“Sgt. Maj. Geletko is one of the finest Marines I’ve ever served with in the Marine Corps,” McGowan said. “He always takes time to get out from his office and go around and talk to all the Marines in his battalion.”
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