Twentynine Palms -- Marines, sailors, distinguished guests and loved ones of Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command gathered at Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Gray Field to wish fair winds and following seas to Sgt. Maj. Karl Villalino, former Combat Center Sergeant Major, during a relief, appointment and retirement ceremony, May 10, 2016.
During the ceremony, Villalino retired from the Marine Corps after 30 years of honorable service. He received the Legion of Merit for his dedication to duty while serving as the installation sergeant major since August of 2013.
“Today is not just a tribute to the time-honored tradition of a relief and appointment,” said Maj. Gen. Lewis A. Craparotta, Combat Center Commanding General. “It’s certainly a reflection of the impact that [Villalino] had on Marines throughout his career.”
Villalino then passed the noncommissioned officer sword to Sgt. Maj. Michael J. Hendges, oncoming Combat Center Sergeant Major, representing the transfer of authority and responsibilities from one sergeant major to the next.
“I’m looking forward to learning everything the base does and how I can better support and serve the Marines and sailors of [the Combat Center],” Hendges said.
As Villalino prepares to move on to the next chapter in his life, one of his sons, Pfc. Karl M. Villalino Jr., is beginning a new chapter in his. Villalino Jr. recently graduated from recruit training prior to his father’s retirement.
“I’m incredibly grateful to my father for being such an enthusiastic mentor and for his willingness to pass on his wisdom,” Villalino Jr. said. “I’m proud of his accomplishments and especially thankful for the path that has been cleared by all the Marines that came before me.”
Prior to the pass in review, Villalino concluded the ceremony with a message to all those who continue to wear the uniform of a United States Marine.
“We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us,” Villalino said. “Continue to build on that foundation; continue to build upon the legacy of the Marine Corps. That’s your responsibility.”