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Col. William Vivian, commanding officer, Sgt. Maj. Edward Zapata, oncoming sergeant major, and Sgt. Maj. Rodney Lane, outgoing sergeant major, 7th Marine Regiment, salute the National Colors during the pass in review portion of the regiment’s relief and appointment ceremony at Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Gray field, March 18,2016. (Official Marine Corps Photo by Cpl. Julio McGraw/Released)

Photo by Cpl. Julio McGraw

‘Magnificent Seventh’ bids farewell to senior leader

28 Mar 2016 | Story by Cpl. Julio McGraw Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Sgt. Maj. Rodney Lane relinquished his post as regimental sergeant major of 7th Marine Regiment to Sgt. Maj. Edward Zapata during regiment’s relief and appointment ceremony at Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Gray Field, March 18, 2016.

Lane passed the non-commissioned officer's sword to Zapata, signifying the symbolic change of senior leadership for the ‘Magnificent Seventh.’

Lane assumed command as the regimental sergeant major for 7th Marines in March 2014 and deployed with the unit as part of the command element of Marine Air Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command 15.2, in support of operations in the area. His personal awards include: the Meritorious Service Medal with gold star, Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal with gold star, Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal with gold star, Combat Action Ribbon and Good Conduct Medal, eighth award.

“I want to thank everyone who has helped me and also the Marines behind me for all that they have done and everything that they are going to do in the future,” Lane said. “7th Marines will always be part of my DNA. Sergeant Major Zapata, I want to welcome you, your wife and your family to the Magnificent Seventh; they could not have picked a better sergeant major for the job.”

Prior to receiving orders to report to 7th Marines, Zapata was the sergeant major for 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion. As Zapata steps into a new role, he plans to maintain and continue the regiment’s illustrious history.

“When I received the sword From Sgt. Maj. Lane, I also received the Marines and sailors that are behind me,” Zapata said. “Not only them, but their training, their families, their morale and welfare and everything this sword signifies. It a big responsibility and I am looking forward to it.”

Lane is scheduled to report to 4th Marine Aircraft Wing for his next duty assignment. After addressing the crowd, Lane turned to the regiment of Marines and sailors in formation behind him and left them with parting words.

“Marines and sailors I want to tell you that you all have knocked it out of the park,” Lane said. “You are the best of the best, you motivate the heck out of me because you take complex tasks and make it look easy. I leave you with this: continue to do the right thing for the right reason; by doing that, everything else will fall into place. Thank you, God Bless and Semper Fidelis.”

The NCO sword is no longer used in combat; however passing it from one leader to another is a proud Marine Corps tradition that has been performed since 1875. Now, with this responsibility in the hands of Zapata, the Marines of the ‘Magnificent Seventh’ will continue to make history through their Honor, Courage and Commitment.

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