News: Sgt. Maj. Pritchard leaves VMFA(AW)-242 legacy in new hands
Story by Lance Cpl. James Smith
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan - Marines with Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242 stood proud and tall as Sgt. Maj. Michael Pritchard relinquished his responsibilities as VMFA (AW)-242 sergeant major during a relief and appointment ceremony held at the VFMA(AW)-242 hangar at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, May 13, 2013.
Pritchard transferred the staff noncommissioned officer sword to Sgt. Maj. Jason Simmons, former 2nd Recruit Training Battalion sergeant major at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC.
After the completion of ceremonies, Lt. Col. Bruce Gordon, VMFA(AW)-242 commanding officer, took the microphone to praise his former enlisted leader for his accomplishments.
“We’ve obviously had our good moments and our other moments since we’ve been working together,” said Gordon. “If you look at where we are now, it’s night and day to where we were 11 to 12 months ago. A large portion of that is the role that the staff noncommissioned officers play in the squadron on a day-to-day basis. Obviously, at the head of that group is the sergeant major.”
Gordon continued to reflect on Pritchard’s efforts toward the squadron and the importance of the position of sergeant major. Once Gordon finished, Pritchard took the microphone to address his former squadron.
“I’ve been in ground units, infantry, logistics and I have never seen a harder group of working Marines than I have seen in this squadron,” said Pritchard. “When everyone else is enjoying a weekend, these Marines are out working on the flightline getting jets ready to support the mission of (Marine Aircraft Group 12). I’m in awe of what they do and I appreciate everything they have done.”
Pritchard concluded by wishing Simmons the best of luck and informed him of the magnificent things to expect.
Simmons concluded the ceremony by addressing the squadron and all in attendance of what to expect in the future, as well as voicing his anticipation to work with the hard working leaders of VMFA(AW)-242.
“To all the Marines here in the squadron, I will promise you one thing,” said Simmons. “I will give 100 percent of my time, effort and energy to help each and every one of you, achieve personally and train professionally, to make this squadron continue to be the best squadron in the Marine Corps.”