TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - -- Columns of Marines stood at the position of attention at Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Gray Field, Jan. 9, 2015, with sunlight glinting off their ribbons and badges. They stood in formation representing the Marines of 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment during the relief and appointment ceremony of their sergeant major.
Sgt. Maj. Chasen E. Getty passed the non-commissioned officer's sword off to Sgt. Maj. Michael E. Cedeno signifying the symbolic change of senior leadership for 1/7.
“It’s bittersweet,” Getty said. “Especially going through everything with the battalion, like our deployment among other things.”
Getty assumed command as battalion sergeant major for 1/7 in March 2013 and deployed with the battalion to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom later that year.
“It’s hard leaving but change is good for everyone, and now it’s time for Sgt. Maj. Cedeno to take charge and lead these Marines,” Getty said.
Cedeno was promoted to the rank of sergeant major on Dec. 1, 2014, and received orders to report to 1/7 as the new battalion sergeant major.
“I’m definitely excited. I’ve been waiting for this chance for 19 years,” Cedeno said. “Now that I’m wearing the rank of sergeant major, I couldn’t be happier taking charge of a battalion of Marines.”
While Getty spoke to the crowd, he reminded the Marines of 1/7 what they should take with them as he leaves.
“Always stay professional,” Getty said. “We all make mistakes, but don’t throw away all of your hard work by making a mistake that could ruin the rest of your career.”
As Cedeno takes charge, he plans on maintaining 1/7 as a force in readiness.
“My goal while I’m here is to make sure the Marines stay ready to answer the call at any time,” Cedeno said. “It doesn’t matter if it is for humanitarian, non-combative evacuation, or combat operations.”
The sword might not be used in combat anymore, but passing it from one sergeant major to another is a proud Marine Corps tradition that has been performed since 1875. Now the Marines of 1/7 will follow Sgt. Maj. Cedeno as he holds the sword to lead them.