MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – A quiet calm washed over those in attendance as the sounds of the 2nd Marine Division Band slowly vanished. Marines, family and friends gathered together to commemorate Chief Warrant Officer 5 Cannon Cargile and his 30 years of honorable and faithful service to the Corps.
In conjunction with the retirement ceremony, Maj. Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson, Deputy Chief of Staff, Joint Operations to ISAF Joint Command in Kabul, Afghanistan, presented the Legion of Merit to Cargile for his exceptionally meritorious conduct as the 2nd Marine Division weapons infantry officer for the II Marine Expeditionary Force from 2009-2013. As the commanding general’s senior infantry weapons and the Corps’ most senior gunner, Cargile’s key insight and proficiency influenced every Division unit in support of the War on Terror.
Nicholson also awarded Cargile the Bronze Star Medal for his service while acting as a gunner for II MEF in Afghanistan from Feb. to Dec. 2011. Cargile’s leadership and knowledge on the battlefield directly influenced the tactical success of the forces of Regional Command Southwest. Also, on March 29, 2011, while on a dismounted patrol outside of Patrol Base Shark’s Tooth, an improvised explosive device, critically wounded the lead Marine. Cargile swiftly established a landing zone so the wounded Marine could be evacuated to a higher echelon of medical care.
After Nicholson presented the awards, he recognized the humble and professional attitude Cargile brought to the Corps throughout the years.
“At the end of the day it’s not how many ribbons you have or the rank at which you retire, it’s who you have touched and how you have touched them,” said Nicholson. “Cannon, your impact will be felt for a generation. I wish there was a bumper sticker that said ‘I rode with Cannon.’”
“I have been more blessed than any other Marine; every person that I’ve worked for has just been phenomenal I’ve been surrounded by the very best,” Cargile mentioned. “I wanted to publicly thank each and every one of you for what you have done for me over these years, 30 years have come and gone and I just can’t believe it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, I am truly humbled to look out here and see all of these faces.”
Nicholson described his feelings for an irreplaceable individual who brought so much to so many and who will leave a lasting impression for years to come.
“I am so honored to be able to have been a part of this ceremony and I know [your wife] is ready for you to come home, but I do this with great trepidation and great remorse that I am the one who is allowing you to walk to the plank and go to shore,” Nicholson said with solemnly. “You’ve made an impact above and beyond anyone in your position. God bless you, your great family, Semper Fidelis, Oorah.”