CAMP PENDLETON, Calif - “You’re the backbone of what we do, and I’m proud of every one of you,” said Lt. Col. John Martinko during a change of command ceremony to his family, which includes not only his wife and three children, but also his Marines. “Each and every one of you made me a better person and leader. For that, I’ll always be grateful.”
Martinko, outgoing commanding officer of 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, relinquished command of the unit to incoming commanding officer, Lt. Col. Eric Penford, during a change of command ceremony aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., July 1, 2014.
Martinko’s poignant speech was preceded by a ceremony, conducted by a formation of Marines with Headquarters and Support Company, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, Alpha Company, Bravo Company, Engineering Support Company and Bridge Company, complemented by the 1st Marine Division Band.
At the height of the ceremony, Martinko handed the unit’s colors to Penford, symbolizing the transition of command of 7th ESB. Martinko will pursue further studies at the National War College, Ft. Lesley McNair, Wash., which prepares officers for higher command positions in the future.
Brig. Gen. Vincent A. Coglianese, 1st MLG Commanding General, addressed everyone in attendance, recognizing the Marines in formation for their outstanding presentation and both commanding officers for their hard work. He lightheartedly mentioned that if he had a chance to become an enlisted Marine, he would choose to be a combat engineer.
Penrod, a former engineer occupational field sponsor with Headquarters Marine Corps, Arlington, Va., said he is eager to assume his new duties and responsibilities as the commanding officer of 7th ESB.
“I’m honored and humbled in being chosen to lead a unit of this size and with such a diverse set of capabilities,” said Penrod, of Windber, Penn. “I’m very excited to take command of such an excellent unit, and hopefully we can improve on what’s already excellent.”