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Lieutenant Col. Robert Piddock [left], the incoming commanding officer of 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, returns a salute as Sgt. Maj. Jonathan Cagle, the battalion's sergeant major, prepares to pass the sword of office during the change of command ceremony at Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Grey Field July 2.

Photo by Pfc. Sarah Anderson

New command enters ‘Thundering Third’

12 Jul 2010 | Pfc. Sarah Anderson

Hundreds of 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Marines marched across Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Grey Field to welcome their incoming battalion commander and sergeant major and bid farewell to their outgoing leaders July 2.

Lieutenant Col. Robert Piddock and Sgt. Maj. David Reaves, replaced Lt. Col. Martin Wetterauer and Sgt. Maj. Jonathan Cagle during a morning ceremony.

Saying goodbye to the men and families of the Thundering Third was bittersweet for both Wetterauer and Cagle.

“I am extremely proud of our accomplishments and of what we have achieved over the last years,”  Wetterauer, originally from Baton Rouge, La., said. “I’m sad that I’m leaving. My last 25 months was the greatest experience I’ve had as a Marine. I absolutely love these men; they are all brothers of mine.”

Wetterauer, whose next assignment is with Headquarters Marine Corps in Washington D.C., ended his farewell by welcoming Piddock to the unit he has come to regard as his family.

Sergeant Major Cagle said goodbye to his Marines Friday and said, “They are getting a great battalion, a great bunch of Marines. We have been through a lot together.”

Cagle, a native of Lexington, Va., is now transferring to the Salt Lake City Recruiting Station to work as the station’s sergeant major.

“I most look forward to challenging the Marines and sailors to help them achieve higher levels of excellence, accomplish the mission and take care of each other,” said Reaves, 3rd Bn. 4th Marines’ new sergeant major who hails from San Mateo, Calif.

Piddock, the former operations officer for the 7th Marine Regiment, said he and Reaves look forward to the times and challenges ahead as he  accepted his new role.

“I’m excited, humbled,” said the Watertown, N.Y., native.  “There’s a large reputation that comes with 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, and I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead.”

One of the most important goals Piddock said he has is to continue to strengthen the battalion’s tight-knit team.

“To build team we must be in good mental and physical shape and tested to be combat ready,” Piddock said. “It’s an honor to be part of this team. I grew up in the infantry.”

“As I promised Lt. Col. Wetterauer, I’m going to give 110 percent,” he said.

The emblematic colors were passed from Wetterauer to Piddock to symbolize the start of a new era.

“The transfer of the colors is symbolic of a transfer of command, which entails the transfer of total accountability authority and responsibility from the outgoing commander to the incoming commander,” read the narrator.

As Piddock addressed his new Marines, he made it a point to show he does not take his new assignment lightly.

“I stand here fully aware of the history, tradition and reputation earned by you and those who have gone before you. I am honored today to join your ranks. Oorah!”

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