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Marines with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, salute the colors while the national anthem is played during the battalion’s change of command ceremony at Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Gray Field, June 1, 2015. Lt. Col. Sean M. Hankard, former battalion commander, 2/7, assumed command June, 2013. (Official Marine Corps photo by Pfc. Levi Schultz/Released)

Photo by Pfc. Levi Schultz

'War Dogs' change of command

3 Jun 2015 | Pfc. Levi Schultz Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

Hankard assumed command of 2/7 in June, 2013 and led the battalion through its participation in Special Purpose-Marine Air Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command 15.1. His personal decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with gold star, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device, and Combat Action Ribbon.

“I’ve been impressed from what [Hankard] and this great team have done,” said Maj. Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson, commanding general, 1st Marine Division. “I could not be more pleased or proud of what this battalion has accomplished.”

Throughout his time as battalion commander, Hankard led the ‘War Dogs’ through a time of change for the Marine Corps.

“We started off trying to train for anything,” Hankard said. “In time we learned to take it back to being proficient in the basics.”

Sgt. Maj. Fredrick Smith, battalion sergeant major, 2/7, expressed admiration for Hankard’s ability to lead Marines.

“The best part about Hankard was he was calm, cool and collected at all times,” Smith said. “His leadership was above reproach. He set the standard, which is the Marine Corps’ standard, and he held his Marines to it.”

During the ceremony, the transfer of the battalion colors, symbolizing the transfer of responsibility and authority of 2/7, was performed by the outgoing and incoming battalion commanders. Following a speech from Hankard, his wife and three daughters were presented with flowers. The ceremony finished with the Marines of 2/7 performing a pass in review for their new battalion commander.

“To the Marines of 2/7, your reputation precedes you.” Steele said. “You have proven time and again that you have the character and the will to accomplish any task. I’m truly humbled and honored to join your ranks.”

Hankard said he owes the battalion’s success to every Marine and sailor of 2/7 and described the change of command as bittersweet.

“The battalion’s motto, ‘ready for all, yielding to none,’ could not be more appropriate,” Hankard said. “The last two years have been challenging, but they’ve been challenging on all of us. I owe every Marine and sailor of 2/7 a tremendous debt of gratitude.”

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms