MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS --
The passing of the noncommissioned officer sword was performed between retiring Sgt. Maj. Fredrick A. Smith, former battalion sergeant major, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, and Sgt. Maj. Gabriel E. Macias, battalion sergeant major, 2/7, during a relief and appointment ceremony at Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Gray Field, June 19, 2015.
The passing of the sword is a symbolic tradition representing the transfer of authority and responsibilities from one sergeant major to the next.
During the ceremony, Smith was honored for his 24 years of service and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal. The award added to a list of decorations that include; the Bronze Star Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with distinguishing “V” device in lieu of fourth award, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and various unit and service awards.
“The most pivotal man in the command team is the battalion sergeant major and I truly appreciated being able to work with him,” said Lt. Col. Christopher T. Steele, battalion commander, 2/7. “[Smith] is an exceptional man of character and an exceptional Marine. He was stayed that way right up until the last minute.”
Smith reminisced on his time with 2/7, remembering that there were good times and hard times.
“The loss of life is tragic for any battalion,” Smith said. “The fond memories that I have of watching the Marines succeed in the [Integrated Training Exercises] and watching the children born within the battalion are memories that I will cherish forever."
After leaving Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island and receiving orders as battalion sergeant major of 2/7, Macias has set a high standard for his new Marines.
“The Marines of 2/7 have a good foundation and I am honored and privileged to be their sergeant major,” Macias said. “My ultimate goal is to be the best battalion and set the precedence for everyone else to follow suit.”
The ceremony concluded with the reciting of "Old Glory" and the "passing of the flag presentation."
“The oath of the sergeant major is sacred. When one comes in to relieve another it is our solemn promise that we will do better than the last and take the battalion to the next level,” Smith said. “It was an honor and privilege for me to serve. I love being a Marine and there is nothing else I’d rather be.”