News: MCAS New River sergeant major hands over reins
Story by Lance Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C. - “A lot of men serve with honor; a lot of men come and go,” said Navy Lt. Chad C. McCain, Marine Corps Air Station New River chaplain. “Occasionally a new person emerges whose qualities are obvious, and so we give thanks to Sgt. Maj. Squires whose tour is complete. He is now going on to the first tee in the next course of his life.”
Sgt. Maj. William F. Squires relinquished his duties as the sergeant major of the air station to Sgt. Maj. Robert A. Allen Jr., during a relief and appointment ceremony, May 4.
During the ceremony, Squires received the Legion of Merit from the president of the United States of America for his exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service while serving as the air station’s sergeant major from May 2010 to July 2012 in an unprecedented period of growth in the Marine Corps.
“I extend to you my personal thanks and the sincere appreciation of a grateful nation for your contribution of honorable service to our country,” wrote President Barack Obama in a message read aloud during the ceremony. “You have helped maintain the security of the nation during a critical time in its history with a devotion to duty and a spirit of sacrifice in keeping with the proud traditions of military service.”
Squires has been the sergeant major of the air station since May 2010. Over the two years he served at New River, he made an impression on countless Marines, including Col. Jeffrey M. Hewlett, MCAS New River commanding officer.
“I have been blessed in my Marine Corps career to have four different sergeants major, but among those four great sergeants major, Squires has been the best,” said Hewlett. “It is incredibly impressive what he has done in 30 years. Above all, he is a leader and a warrior; he is a gunfighter. Sergeant major, you are a titan in the Marine Corps.”
Squires shared a list of the top four priorities that got him this far in his life.
“I have always said this,” said Squires. “God, country, Corps and family. Without the Corps, I don’t know where I would be today. I love the Corps, it’s my life. I always said them in that order and people used to say, ‘you put your family last?’. Think about it, I believe in God, I serve my country and I serve my corps, so if I was always doing those three, my family was always taken care of.”
Allen, a Portland, Maine, native, was selected to become the air station’s sergeant major after a two-year tour as sergeant major of Marine Wing Support Squadron 272. Before taking the reins of the air station, Allen gave words of praise to Squires for all the work he has done through his Marine Corps career.
“First I want to thank you for your 30 years of honorable and faithful service,” said Allen. “You are the embodiment of institutional core values and you have led your Marines and sailors with firmness and dignity for 30 years. I am honored to know you and greatly indebted upon you in my career.”