CAMP PENDLETON, CA, UNITED STATES
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – First Marine Division bid farewell to the next sergeant major of the Marine Corps, and welcomed its new senior enlisted leader during a post and relief ceremony here April 22.
Sgt. Maj. Micheal P. Barrett passed the responsibility as senior enlisted advisor of the 1st Marine Division to Sgt. Maj. Michael Kufchak. Barrett was selected April 11 by Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James Amos, as the next sergeant major of the Marine Corps, and will assume that position from the current Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Carlton Kent during a post and relief ceremony in Washington, June 8.
Kufchak, who began his Marine Corps career in 1982, is coming from 7th Marine Regiment, based out of Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif. Kufchak returned from a yearlong deployment to Helmand province, Afghanistan, in October 2010, where he served as the sergeant major of Regimental Combat Team 7.
Barrett, who spent a good portion of his 30-year career with 1st Marine Division elements, praised the Marines and the legacy of which he was a part.
“1st Marine Division represents 25,000 Marines and I’m going to miss you,” said Barrett. “It’s just that simple.”
Barrett had the opportunity to witness the bravery and dedication of the Marines and sailors of 1st Marine Division in Helmand province. Barrett served as the sergeant major of Regional Command Southwest from April 2010 through April 2011.
“I wanted to talk about the quality and character of the Marines of 1st Marine Division,” said Barrett. “They are selfless and they are fearless, they are spot on and they are sharp, and that’s what you’re getting.”
Kufchak’s career of leading and preparing Marines for combat spans nearly three decades. His combat leadership experience includes tours as the first sergeant for Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004; battalion sergeant major for 3/5 in support of OIF in 2007; and as the sergeant major of Regimental Combat Team 7 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from October 2009 through October 2010.
“Today marks another milestone in the history and lineage of 1st Marine Division,” said Kufchak. “It’s a tremendous honor and a tremendous privilege.”
Kufchak’s personal awards include the Bronze Star with Combat Distinguishing Device, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with three gold stars, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with three gold stars and Combat Action Ribbon.
“I don’t have to explain how humbled I am to be here,” Kufchak said.
||CAMP PENDLETON, CA, US
This work, 1st MarDiv welcomes new sergeant major, bids farewell to next SMMC, by LCpl Glen Santy, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.