The 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit bid farewell to Sgt. Maj. John W. Scott and welcomed Sgt. Maj. Douglas B. Schaefer during a relief and appointment ceremony on the Camp Del Mar parade deck, aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Feb. 21, 2014.
Traditionally, the sergeant major assists the commander as the senior enlisted Marine in the unit, mentors senior enlisted and ensures all policies of the commander are carried out.
During the ceremony, Scott addressed a crowd of close friends and Marines.
“To the Marines of team Bullrush, there is no other way to describe you but phenomenal,” Scott said. “You have truly reinvigorated my perception of our Corps. You are consummate professionals with unquestionable work ethic. I appreciate you, I respect every one of you and I will always be your sergeant major.”
He also thanked mentors, senior leaders and Lt. Col. John R. O’Neal, commanding officer, 15th MEU, for their wisdom and guidance. As Scott made his way to his seat, there was a roar of applause from the crowd.
The ceremony began with an invocation from the unit’s chaplain, Lt. Cmdr. David D. Dinkins, and continued with the Marine Corps’ tradition of exchanging the noncommissioned officer sword. This symbolizes the change of responsibility between the two senior enlisted leaders.
Schaefer, who is coming from Marine Air Control Squadron 2 at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., accepted his new challenge as the unit’s sergeant major with modesty.
“I’m humbled to be here and at a loss for words,” Schaefer said as he addressed the crowd. “To be chosen to a unit with a reputation such as this is incredible. I’m excited to continue to carry the flag for team Bullrush and continue to be successful.”
Scott dedicated much of his time to learning the name of every Marine during the 15th MEU’s Western Pacific 12-2 deployment and left an impression on every Marine he interacted with.
“He’ll be missed. He’s had a huge impact on all the Marines here,” said Sgt. Richard Hernandez, data network specialist, 15th MEU. “He put meaning behind the name Bullrush. He always motivated us and put a lot of trust and confidence in us because he believed in our abilities.”
During the ceremony, Scott was awarded the Legion of Merit for exceptional meritorious conduct in his performance of outstanding service as the sergeant major for the 15th MEU.
“Sgt. Maj. Scott has been much more than an advisor,” O’Neal said. “He’s been an indispensable partner in command, a tireless and dynamic leader and a teacher and mentor to all. I have been routinely awed by the depth, knowledge and wisdom he brings to the command.”
Scott said he looks forward to taking charge as the sergeant major for Marine Forces Special Operations Command in Camp Lejeune, N.C.