MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- A change of command is a time-honored tradition in the Marine Corps, but its true legacy is more than that. While it transfers total responsibility, authority and accountability from one Marine to another, it’s also a chance for a commander to look back and reflect on the blood, sweat and sacrifice he has committed to the Marines he led, and to see to it the institution that he molded is left in great hands.
Family, friends and colleagues were present as Honolulu native, Col. Thomas L. Cariker relinquished command of 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, to Lt. Col. Christopher Mayette of South Bend, Ind., during a change of command ceremony here Sept. 9.
Cariker assumed command of the regiment in July 2003.
Highlights of his career include serving a three-year tour with Charlie Battery, 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, as well as commanding officer of Headquarters Battery, 10th Marine Regiment.
Cariker will serve out his last tour of artillery in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom before pursuing other goals.
“What a way to go out,” Cariker said. “I’ve watched this regiment improve over the years. When they deploy, they have the matter-of-fact look of trained professionals.”
Mayette will get a fresh start with a new unit and a chance to fill big shoes and the legacy Cariker left behind with 10th Marine Regiment.
“I respect Colonel Cariker for how he ran the regiment and stood up to every challenge,” Mayette said.
In 1988, after graduating from The Basic School and the Field Artillery Officer Basic Course, Mayette joined Fox Battery, 2nd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment where he served as a forward observer, field direction officer, platoon commander and battery executive officer.
He also served with 5th Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment as a battery commander, regimental assistant operations officer, and a director of the artillery training school.
During the ceremony, Cariker gave thanks to his fellow officers, staff noncommissioned officers and junior Marines for helping him serve effectively. He also thanked his wife and family for being there for him. As Cariker steps into a new phase of his life, he is confident that the regiment is in good hands.
“I have watched him (Mayette) run the regiment for the last few months,” Cariker said. “In this regiment I have seen him lead well, and learn from his mistakes. I know he will do a good job.”
Mayette took the command, thanking Cariker for leaving him with an outstanding regiment and having faith in his abilities. He gave praise to his wife and family for their support and helping him throughout his career. He then went on to address the regiment.
“I’m impressed with this regiment for its Espirit de Corps and its professionalism,” Mayette said. “I’m proud to lead this regiment.”