U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa welcomed a new senior enlisted leader with the relief of Sgt. Maj. Ronald L. Green, the outgoing sergeant major, and the appointment of Sgt. Maj. James J. McCook, the incoming sergeant major, May 29, on Panzer Kaserne. McCook comes from serving as the regimental sergeant major at the Recruit Training Regiment, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, in San Diego.
“He was carefully screened for the position and comes with a great reputation,” said Lt. Gen. John M. Paxton Jr., commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Africa, about McCook. “We have great expectations that he will take us to the next level.”
Under unique circumstances, McCook receives two commands with the emblematic “passing of the sword,” a Marine Corps tradition that signifies the transfer of responsibility, from both Lt. Gen. Dennis J. Hejlik, commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe, and Paxton, commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Africa.
McCook spoke about the appreciation he felt to join the new command and take on the responsibilities of sergeant major in an environment that is unique to that of other Marine Corps commands.
Green, in his farewell address, also spoke about the “purple” environment, referring to the joint-service nature of the U.S. European and Africa Commands in an Army community, the faith he has in the Marines and their commitment to the Corps, and the importance of “one team, one fight.”
For his leadership, achievements and service to the command, Green was awarded the Legion of Merit, receiving a gold star in lieu of his second award.
“Whether he was talking to a brigadier general or a lance corporal, he always gave his full attention,” Paxon said.
“In body and spirit, through initiative and teamwork, Green transmitted those attributes to everyone at Marine Forces Europe and Marine Forces Africa. That’s why he’s a great sergeant major,” he added. Green will transfer to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, Calif.