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Fair winds and following seas; HQBN receives new sergeant major

6 Nov 2013 | Cpl. Lauren A. Kurkimilis

Sgt. Maj. Scott Cooper passed on the non-commissioned officer’s sword, to Sgt. Maj. Abel Leal, marking the relief and appointment of duty as sergeant major of Headquarters Battalion, Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command / Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, during a ceremony held at Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Grey Field Nov. 1, 2013.

Following the exchange of responsibility, Cooper was formally retired by Lt. Col. Michael Bowers, HQBN commanding officer, after 24 years of faithful service to the Marine Corps.

“I am truly honored to be able to retire such a stellar Marine as Sgt. Maj. Cooper,” Bowers said. “As he is on to bigger and better things, he will be missed here aboard the Combat Center.”

Cooper took a minute to thank his fellow Marines, friends and family members for attending the ceremony and he also took a moment to express his confidence in the Marine taking his place in HQBN.

“I have complete faith in Sgt. Maj. Leal’s ability to take on Headquarters Battalion,” Cooper said. “These Marines are in good hands.”

Although Leal spent the weeks prior to his official appointment visiting different HQBN units, he expressed his excitement in meeting the rest of the battalion and leading the Marines to success.

Leal is an assault amphibious vehicle crewman by trade and most recently served at 1st Marine Regiment as the Headquarters Company 1st sergeant. He served on the drill field at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Calif. and has deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, the Mediterranean, and the West Coast of Africa.

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