News: Marine Unit in Middle East Welcomed Its New Sergeant Major
Story by Cpl. Fenton Reese
NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY, Bahrain – Marines, sailors and guests, to include the U.S. and British ambassadors to the Kingdom of Bahrain, U.S. Amb. Thomas Krajeski and British Amb. Iain Lindsey, gathered at Naval Support Activity Bahrain for a relief and appointment ceremony, Feb 12.
Sgt. Maj. John J. McGovern relinquished his duties as Marine Corps Forces Central Command (Forward) sergeant major to Sgt. Maj. Mario A. Marquez.
McGovern served as the MARCENT (Fwd) sergeant major since October 2011 and said his journey has been fulfilling.
"This has to be one of the most exciting assignments in the Corps. You are representing the Marine Corps and helping to build partnerships with our friends in the Area of Responsibility,” said McGovern.
This transition has an even deeper significance than any other end of tour for McGovern, since it marks the completion of his final tour in the Marine Corps. He is retiring after 31 years of service. He said he has enjoyed his life with his Marine Corps family, but now he and his leadership skills are needed on the homefront.
“I will be returning to Swansboro, N.C., where my wife and our two sons live. My wife is retired from the U.S. Army and has been doing the role of mom and dad for some time, and I love her for it. The primary mission is to make up for lost family time and then see what is next,” he said.
With his tenure coming to an end, McGovern said he feels very confident in passing the torch to Marquez.
“Sgt. Maj. Marquez is bringing a lot of Marine Corps experience with him from his last five years stationed in Okinawa, Japan, and I think that will have a positive impact, specifically on our families and family readiness program. As a whole to the MARCENT (Fwd) command, he brings the energy, desire and motivation that all true leaders have and will focus that on the success of our Marines,” McGovern added.
Prior to his post as the MARCENT (Fwd) sergeant major, his assignments include Marine Wing Support Squadron 172, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, where he deployed with the Firebirds in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 7-9. He then moved to Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 1, Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 36 and Marine Aircraft Group 36, where he deployed in support of Operation Tomodachi as the MAG-36 (Fwd) sergeant major, Joint Task Force-519 in support of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations after an earthquake and tsunami struck northeastern Japan in 2011. Finally, from June 2011 to December 2012 Marquez served as the MAG-36 sergeant major before receiving his current assignment to MARCENT (Fwd).
Marquez said he is eager to take on this new assignment.
"I look forward to observing the personal pride and sense of accomplishment in the Marines and sailors as they carry out our mission,” he said. “I’m just ready to get started.”
Marquez said he has a goal that he takes with him to every unit to which he is assigned. And, thanks to the legacy and guidance McGovern provided, Marquez feels he is well ahead of the curve.
“It has always been my goal that every unit I serve with be ‘the best unit in the Marine Corps.’ I truly believe that developing loyalty up and down the chain of command is a must have for any unit to be successful,” said Marquez. “Sgt. Maj. McGovern has clearly built a reputation as a Marine's Marine. His professionalism and efforts as an enlisted mentor and leader will have a lasting impact across the department of defense as well as with the unit and our partner nations.”