News: 4th Marine Division changes command
Story by Cpl. Marcin Platek
NEW ORLEANS – Maj. Gen. James M. Lariviere relinquished command of the 4th Marine Division to Brig. Gen. James S. “Hammer” Hartsell during a ceremony at the Marine Corps Support Facility New Orleans, Sept. 8.
“It’s been great to pilot the 17,000 troops in 108 different stations and 41 states around the country who conducted combat operations, exercises and other training events in support of U.S. security here and around the world,” said Lariviere, a native of Rochester, NY.
Lt. Gen. Steven A. Hummer, the commander of Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces North, expressed admiration for Lariviere’s leadership and sacrifice at the helm of 4th MarDiv.
“Maj. Gen. Lariviere has had the division for an extended amount of time; for 27 months he has done a superb job as the commander and a leader,” said Hummer. “I would like to thank you not only for your command but also the knowledge of the history of the Reserve and what has been done in the past, your advice and sage wisdom.”
Hummer said he is also excited to work with Hartsell, formally the deputy commanding general, I Marine Expeditionary Force (Mobilization).
“Hammer is also quite an operator,” said Hummer. “He is prior enlisted but has commanded almost every level that an infantry officer can. It’s a great honor and privilege to have you on board as a leader and great officiator that you will be.”
As a symbol of exchanging command responsibility, Hartsell received the division colors from Lariviere in front of their families, friends and 13 platoons of Marines symbolizing each command under the 4th MarDiv.
“The troops behind you are representatives of the long and soaring history of this division,” said Hummer. “The reports that we get back from the active commanders who they worked for are all sterling and that they appreciate what the Reserves have enabled.”
As Hartsell, a native of Lake Wales, Fla., takes command of the division, he is tasked to provide leadership and guidance to the Marines of 4th MarDiv, which offers the Marine Corps an ability to augment active-component units involved in the combat operations and humanitarian missions around the world.
“As we change command we cannot forget the sacrifice of those who have fallen at war,” said Lariviere, who will transition to the Pentagon as the assistant deputy commandant of plans, policies and operations (Mobilization). “Of the 161 Marines from MARFORRES who have died in (Operation Iraqi Freedom) or (Operation Enduring Freedom), 126 were from 4th Marine Division.”
Upon conclusion of the ceremony, the oncoming commander wanted to assure his Marines that they are in good hands.
“For the Marines and sailors of 4th Marine Division, I will command you and I will do my very best to lead you with integrity, upmost loyalty and the best interests of this Marine division,” said Hartsell.