Twentynine Palms --
MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. — Sgt. Maj. Edward G. Zapata relinquished his post as battalion sergeant major, 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion to Sgt. Maj. Marcus A. Chestnut at Felix Field March 18, 2016.
“My heart is with ‘Wolf Pack’ and has been since the day I arrived here,” Zapata said. “Being a part of the pack has gotten me to where I am today.”
Zapata has served as the battalion sergeant major since 2014 and will now move on to execute orders as regimental sergeant major, 7th Marine Regiment. During the ceremony, the Marines and sailors stood in formation while Zapata passed the noncommissioned officer sword to Chestnut.
“The passing of the sword represents the transfer of the office of authority for this great command,” Zapata said. “The responsibility to the welfare and readiness of the Marines are all contained in that sword. When the sword is passed off to a new sergeant major, he inherits those responsibilities.”
Lt. Col. Philip C. Laing, battalion commander, 3rd LAR, spoke on Zapata’s dedication while serving the battalion.
“It’s been said that the battalion level is the last real opportunity to reach out and grab the Marines and sailors souls,” Laing said. “I can assure you that Sgt. Maj. Zapata had a positive impact on the pack’s soul. His legacy, mentorship and leadership will continue to resonate throughout the battalion for years to come.”
Chestnut, previously battalion sergeant major for 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, 1st Marine Regiment, expressed optimism toward his future with the battalion.
“To the Marines and sailors of the ‘Wolf Pack’, you don’t owe me anything, but I owe you a lot.” Chestnut said. “I’m here to tell you that I am here to serve you.”