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    36 Years in the Making



    Story by Cpl. Menelik Collins 

    II MEF Information Group

    CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (Sept. 17, 2020)—
    “Every Marine comes in to do one thing… and that’s to do great things,” said Sergeant Major Bryan K. Zickefoose, currently the longest serving enlisted United States Marine.
    Having served from 1985 to 2020, the 36-year sergeant major celebrated the end of a decorated career with a variety of experiences. Zickefoose’s military career included tours as Marine Security Forces, Drill Instructor, Sergeant Instructor at Officer Candidate School, Chief Instructor/Staff Noncommissioned Officer-in-Charge of the Scout Sniper Instructor School and recruiting duty.
    Given this versatile career, Sergeant Major Zickefoose had many opportunities to lead and follow.
    Zickefoose has served in every state within the US and filled every infantry billet within the Marine Corps, -- from rifleman to senior advisor -- with 11 deployments in between. In addition, Zickefoose served in numerous combat engagements in Somalia, Kosovo, Operation Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom, and Enduring Freedom.
    Though Zickefoose spent the majority of his career at the top of the Marine Corps ranks, he spends a lot of time with junior Marines, according to Yolanda Mayo, a retired sergeant major and friend of Sergeant Major Zickefoose.
    “He loves the younger Marines,” Mayo said. “As long as he feels he’s made an impact and I don’t think he’s realized the impact he’s made on the Marine Corps.”
    As a Sergeant Major, Zickefoose served as the Oklahoma City, Okla., recruiting station Sergeant Major, 1st Marines and Regimental Combat Team 1 Sergeant Major, 2nd Marine Division Sergeant Major, II Marine Expeditionary Force Sergeant Major and is currently serving as the Command Senior Enlisted Leader of United States Southern Command.
    Mayo went on to talk about Zickefoose’s inner drive to create and develop strong leaders.
    “The job of a leader is to create more leaders,” Mayo continued, “and that’s all he wanted to do.”
    At the end of the ceremony, Sergeant Major Zickefoose left the audience with an unforgettable message.
    “There are two ways to get out the Marine Corps: you can get out mad or get out the way you want to,” Zickefoose said. “I got out because I ran out of jobs.”
    - 30 -



    Date Taken: 09.22.2020
    Date Posted: 09.22.2020 16:09
    Story ID: 378405
    Location: CAMP LEJEUNE, NC, US 

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