USS RUSHMORE -- The ship pitched over the rough seas of the Western Pacific as Marines and sailors gathered into formation on the flight deck. Challenged to stand firm, they stood as the battalion said goodbye to one leader and welcomed a new one.
During the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s Western Pacific deployment, Marines and sailors assigned to Combat Logistics Battalion 15 conducted a relief and appointment ceremony aboard the USS Rushmore, April 15, to bid farewell to 1st Sgt. Bradley Simmons and welcome the battalion’s new senior enlisted leader, Sgt. Maj. JohnPaul Doring.
Marine Corps tradition dictates that the non-commissioned officer’s sword is passed from the outgoing to the incoming to signify the transfer of a sacred trust between enlisted leaders of Marines. Once the sword was passed and the enlisted leadership responsibilities were transferred, the battalion’s commanding officer gave a few words recognizing the importance of the event and expressing gratitude for the dedication of Simmons.
“The relief and appointment of one battalion sergeant major to another is a significant event in the life cycle of any Marine battalion,” said Lt. Col. John J. Wiener, commanding officer, CLB-15, 15th MEU. “Sergeants major serve as a senior enlisted Marine at the battalion, squadron and higher levels. They are the commander’s senior enlisted advisor who handle matters of discipline and morale amongst the enlisted Marines. We will sorely miss 1st Sgt. Simmons and his demanding, no-nonsense and aggressive leadership style.”
Simmons was the 19th sergeant major of CLB-15. He came to the battalion in January 2012, and faithfully served the unit for the last 15 months. Simmons will move to Fort Bliss, Texas, to attend the Army’s Sergeants Major Academy.
“I could not have asked for a better duty as a first sergeant of Marines,” said Simmons. “Being the sergeant major of CLB-15 has been the capstone experience of these past few years. These past 15 months [the Marines] have wowed me with [their] ingenuity, resolve and spirit. These 65 [military occupation specialties] jammed together, making the CLB, are no doubt my most diverse battalion in the Marine Corps. It was truly a privilege to serve the Marines and sailors of Combat Logistics Battalion 15. It’s bittersweet to be handing over this sword.”
Doring was born in Tucson, Ariz., and enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1991. Assigned as a military policeman, he has served four combat deployments and a tour as a drill instructor at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.
“I want to thank the Marines and sailors for the ceremony and their hard work during this deployment. I hope I can serve them in any and every way possible,” said Doring. “I’m here now to mentor, guide and take care of the enlisted Marines and sailors. It will be the CO and myself’s job to stand this battalion up as we realign our strength as a whole.”
Upon returning to Camp Pendleton, the unit has a heavy workload and a busy schedule, reorganizing into a new, full-sized logistical battalion. Significant personnel moves further compound the daunting task; however, the commanding officer is confident in their new leader to get the job done.
“We warmly welcome him aboard the CLB family along with his lovely wife and five children,” said Wiener. “Based upon his experiences, his demeanor and his four combat deployments, I have the upmost confidence in Sergeant Major Doring’s abilities to guide and lead these Marines and sailors in the right direction as we return home and reconstitute this battalion for future deployments.”
The 15th MEU is comprised of approximately 2,400 Marines and sailors and is deployed as part of the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group. Together, they provide a forward-deployed, flexible sea-based Marine Air Ground Task Force capable of conducting a wide variety of operations ranging from humanitarian aid to combat.