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Sgt. Maj. Abel T. Leal, outgoing battalion sergeant major, Headquarters Battalion, performs the passing of the non-commissioned officer sword to Sgt. Maj. Avery L. Crespin, oncoming battalion sergeant major, Headquarters Battalion, during a relief and appointment ceremony at Felix Field, Dec. 3, 2015. (Official Marine Corps photo by Pfc. Allie Jesse/Released)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Levi Schultz

Passing of torch; HQBN holds relief, appointment

3 Dec 2015 | Lance Cpl. Levi Schultz Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

Leal served as the battalion’s sergeant major since 2013 and received orders to serve as 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, sergeant major out of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif.

“My time with the battalion was good and we’ve grown a lot since I first took over,” Leal said. “I feel the way ahead is good and Crespin is going to do an outstanding job with the battalion.”

During the ceremony, the sergeants major performed the passing of the ceremonious non-commissioned officer sword. Leal spoke on the important representation that exists within the emblematic passing of the sword between sergeants major.

“The ceremony symbolizes the passing of the torch between sergeant majors,” Leal said. “As the new battalion sergeant major, he can continue to build upon what we’ve built in these last few years.”

Crespin previously served as the sergeant major for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 1 beginning March 2015. According to Crespin, his focus for the battalion will be aimed primarily at improving non-commissioned officers.

“It’s always about the NCOs,” Crespin said. “They are truly the backbone of the Marine Corps. I’d like to see more NCOs stepping up to lead the fight.”

Headquarters Battalion consists of more than 60 different sections with a large variety of missions. The battalion is responsible for not only supporting but training units that come through the Combat Center.

“The biggest challenge for us was communication between the different sections and more than 11,000 Marines,” Leal said. “Each of the sections has their own mission to accomplish but we all have to find time to also complete annual training such rifle qualification and the different [professional military education.]”

Crespin also recognized the challenges that come along with managing so many different sections.

“The biggest challenge with any unit is always communication,” Crespin said. “As long as we are professional and respect each other’s missions than we will be successful.”

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms