MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
The band played and the colors were marched out at the post and relief ceremony for the sergeant major of 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, here Dec. 17.
Sgt. Maj. Rudy Resto assumed his post as the regimental sergeant major from Sgt. Maj. Andre Johnson during the ceremony.
Johnson served as the regimental sergeant major since Jan. 2007 and is now retiring after 30 years of service. Resto is coming from Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., where he served as the squadron sergeant major since March 2007.
The ceremony began with a prayer given by the regimental chaplain, who blessed Johnson’s previous duty and prayed for Resto’s upcoming tasks.
Following the chaplain’s words of encouragement, the sergeants major came forward to exchange the noncommissioned officer’s sword.
As tradition dictates, Johnson gave the sword he has kept during his time with 8th Marines to the commanding officer, Col. John K. Love. Love then passed the sword to Resto, signifying the turnover of responsibility.
Following the turnover, Johnson was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal for his actions during the past months.
Love, Resto and Johnson each spoke to those in attendance and thanked them for coming out to witness the end of Johnson’s service with the Marine Corps and the beginning of new leadership for 8th Marines.
“For 30 years Sergeant Major Andre Johnson has epitomized the ideals of dedication, personal sacrifice and inspirational leadership,” Love said. “He touched the lives of countless young Marines and has prepared them for the challenges they will face in the future. His legacy will have a positive impact on the 8th Marine Regiment for years to come."
The newly appointed sergeant major addressed the regiment as a whole.
“To the Marines and sailors of the regiment, many of your brothers are gone and I’ll see them eventually when they get back,” Resto said. “However, I wanted to say that I am honored to be here, to be able to serve you as your sergeant major. I’m definitely looking for the opportunity to get out there and meet you all and see what you do.”
Johnson thanked every Marine in attendance for their help and guidance. He also issued a general “thank you” to everyone in attendance.
“To the Marines and sailors, you all have been phenomenal,” Johnson said. “I thank you and I’m going to miss you.”
As a new leaf turns over for the men of 8th Marine Regiment, they prepare to start another journey with a new leader. The regiment is preparing for a future deployment to support Operation Iraqi Freedom.