MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- All hands aboard the Combat Center gathered at Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Gray field to witness a historic moment in Combat Center history as Maj. Gen. David H. Berger, former Combat Center Commanding General, formally relinquished his command to Maj. Gen. Lewis A. Craparotta, Combat Center Commanding General, in a change of command ceremony, July 10, 2014.
Distinguished guests from outside of the Combat Center’s gates were in attendance, including general officers and sergeants major from other Marine Corps installations, as well as retirees that are affiliated with the Combat Center.
Unit commanders from Headquarters Battalion, Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center, Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1, Marine Corps Tactics and Operations Group, and Marine Corps Logistics Operations Group led their Marines in the formation and pass and review. The 1st Marine Division Band provided ceremonial music.
Sgt. Maj. Karl Villalino, Combat Center sergeant major, brought forth the colors to Berger, who then passed them, and the authority of the installation they represent, to Craparotta.
Berger extended gratitude to the civilian employees aboard the base, the retiree community, supporting organizations throughout the area, and the Marines and sailors currently serving.
“There are many organizations at the top and bottom of the hill that take us into their homes on Thanksgiving, and take care of our families when we need it, and they don’t ask for anything in return,” Berger said. “They really support us in what we do, year-round. I’m thankful.”
Under Berger’s leadership, which began Jan. 11, 2013, the Combat Center was awarded the Commander-in-Chief’s Installation Excellence Award for the fifth consecutive time in a row, a feat unmatched by any other United States military installation.
“All of my peers helped shape the way that I lead,” Berger said. “I’m grateful for all of your continued bearing.”
Berger has been nominated by President Obama for appointment to lieutenant general rank and command of I Marine Expeditionary Force, based in Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Craparotta’s previous assignment was as Director of Operations, U.S. Northern Command.
“For me, it’s clear,” Craparotta said. “I have to carry out the vision and priorities that were set by Berger and I have to sustain the facilities, resources and services that make the Combat Center run smoothly. I look forward to doing all of these, and I promise you all 100% effort for as long as I am afforded the privilege of command.”