MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif- -- A light breeze blows across Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Gray Field. Marines and their families greet one another as they enter the bleachers. Across the field, the band plays in preparation for the battalion to march. Soft rays of sunshine beam down on them, illuminating their instruments.
Lt. Col. Seth E. Yost, battalion commander, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment relinquished command to Lt. Col. David J. Hart during a change of command ceremony, Dec. 4, 2014.
“It was a privilege to command such a tremendous battalion whose legacy is built around phenomenal Marines like Chesty Puller and John Basilone,” Yost, a native of Wellsboro, Pa., said. “To stand in the ranks where those men stood and with the warriors that we have today it’s just been an incredible honor and a tremendous experience.”
The change of command began with the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Band conducting a ceremonial performance. Following their performance, the Marines and sailors of the battalion marched onto the field in honor of Yost.
“He’s been great,” said Gunnery Sgt. Justin E. Kinner, Headquarters and Service company gunnery sergeant, a native of Lexington, Mass. “We did a deployment to Afghanistan, and the whole work up for that was the battalion commander.”
Yost reported to the 7th Marine Regiment and served as the executive officer for 7th Marines’ Remain Behind Element. He assumed command of 1/7 Jan. 31, 2013.
“I think the men is what made it special and the fact that everybody worked together as a team and with a unity and purpose to accomplish the mission,” Yost said. “It was just a special place because of the Marines.”
Prior to taking command of 1/7, Hart was assigned to 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division and served as the battalion executive officer. Hart is looking forward to leading 1/7 into a bright future.
“I’m just going to carry on the great work that Lt. Col. Yost did,” Hart, a native of Unity, New Hampshire. He’s got the battalion in great shape and I just want to try and take it to the next level.”
Yost will be reporting to the Naval War College for Top Level School upon relinquishing his command.
“It’s always sad to leave a place like 1/7 and the first team family,” Yost said. “But we’re excited to go experience a new place that the Marine Corps is sending us.”