Twentynine Palms -- Family, friends and respected colleagues gathered for the retirement ceremony of Maj. Chad E. Craven at the base theater April 20, 2016.
Craven most recently served as the commanding officer of Company D, Communication Training Battalion, Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School. Enlisting on April 20, 1992, Craven served multiple commands throughout his 24-year career.
“Even though I retired on a Wednesday, in the middle of the day, I made it a point to retire exactly 24 years to the day and hour of when I enlisted,” Craven said.
Prior to commissioning, Craven served as an enlisted Marine up to the rank of staff sergeant. Notably, he volunteered to help move the Computer Science School from Marine Corps Base Quantico, V.A., to Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif.
“I had a great career. But every Marine will eventually have to make a personal decision to retire or leave the Corps,” Craven said. “At the end of the day, they have to commit to a decision and now it’s my time.”
During the ceremony, Craven was presented the Meritorious Service Medal for his honorable service and also received letters of appreciation for his dedication to service from President Barack Obama, Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Robert B. Neller and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford. His personal awards include: the Meritorious Service Medal with gold star in lieu of second award, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with gold star in lieu of second award and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with four gold stars in lieu of fifth award. He is also a graduate of the Amphibious Warfare School and Command and Staff College.
“It’s hard to see him go because he had such an impact on everyone who came in contact with him,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Robert Mawson, advanced instructor group, Co. D, CTB. “He held everyone to a high standard and held himself to that same standard all the way to the end. He was the same person throughout the ranks, deployed or back home, and always gave his honest opinion and sound advice. He was the definition of a true mentor.”
During the ceremony, Craven presented a slide show displaying his journey through the Marine Corps and shared stories of Marines who helped him along the way. At the end of the ceremony, Craven stood at the position of attention as the “Marine’s Hymn” played for the final time in his career. As the song concluded, all in attendance stood and gave Craven a standing ovation for his honorable service.
“My advice for Marines is to find out what inspires them and to always remember that it is not about them, it is about the people they are able to serve,” Craven said. “As long as they keep that in mind they will have a successful career.”