News: 'China Marines' welcome new commanding officer
Story by Lance Cpl. Alfred V. Lopez
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Lt. Col. Kevin Norton relieved Lt. Col. Joseph R. Clearfield as the commanding officer of 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, during a change-of-command ceremony at the Camp Horno landing zone, May 19.
Clearfield assumed command of 1/4 in 2009 and is moving onto the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at Fort McNair, Washington, D.C.
“Lt. Col. Clearfield is a great man, and he turned over a great battalion,” Norton said. “I just hope to live up to what he did and carry the battalion the same way.”
“I’m having a hard time letting go,” said Clearfield, from Baltimore. “But I could not be handing over the battalion to a better man, and a more professional officer.”
Norton’s service began when he enlisted and became an artilleryman with 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment in 1990. He was then commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps through the enlisted commissioning program in 1993.
Norton held various assignments in his career, which include rifle platoon commander, heavy machine gun platoon commander and company executive officer. He has held tenure with 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Regiment and as the commanding officer of a recruiting station in New Jersey, before assuming command of 1/4.
Norton also served in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Operation Joint Endeavor and Operation Iraqi Freedom I and II.
“I started in Marine Combat Training near these hills 21 years ago and it’s overwhelming,” said Norton, from Wilkes-Barre, Pa. “We’re getting ready to head over to the Pacific in December, and we’re ready to see some action over there!”