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Brigadier Gen. George W. Smith Jr., the oncoming commanding general [left], and Brig. Gen. H. Stacy Clardy III, the outgoing commanding general, salute the colors during their change of command ceremony at Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Gray Field July 7, 2011.::r::::n::

Photo by Cpl. Andrew D. Thorburn

Combat Center welcomes new general

8 Jul 2011 | Diane Durden

The Combat Center welcomed one general and bid farewell to another when Brig. Gen. H. Stacy Clardy III relinquished command to Brig. Gen. George W. Smith Jr., during the change of command ceremony at Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Gray Field July 7, 2011.

Four platoons, each representing one of the four commands that make up Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command, as well as the Combat Center Band, marched onto the field to witness the exchange of the MAGTFTC colors, signifying the shift in command from Clardy to Smith.

“I’m looking forward to supporting our operational commanders throughout the Corps, as we continue to accomplish the Commandant’s priority to ensure [we have] the best equipped and best trained Marine units in Afghanistan,” said Smith.

Smith, whom last served as the principal assistant, senior advisor and task manager for Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James Amos in Washington, D.C., takes over responsibility for the 28,000-person installation where 90 percent of the Marine Corps trains before deploying to Afghanistan.

As always when embracing a new commander, the Marines and sailors said goodbye to another.

“This is the first time I’ve left a duty station when I wasn’t ready to go,” said Clardy. “Not because I have left things undone, [but] I’m just going to miss the people. Alison and I have very much enjoyed the small town feel of Twentynine Palms and the Morongo Basin.”

Clardy’s next assignment is to serve as the deputy commandant for Plans, Policies and Operations, at Headquarters Marine Corps in Washington, D.C. He will perform a dual mission as the operations deputy for the Commandant on all Joint Chiefs of Staff matters and will be responsible for coordinating the development and execution of service plans and policies related to the structure, deployment and employment of Marine Corps forces in general.

Clardy’s advice to Smith as his tour begins was to get out and about to see what the Marines, sailors and civilians are doing aboard the Combat Center.

“Being entrusted with the MAGTF Training Command and this wonderful Combat Center at this dynamic time in our Corps’ history is a distinct honor,” said Smith. “I’m smiling from ear-to-ear this morning, and have been since arriving at the Combat Center last week.”

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms