On Friday October 22, 2010 under crisp fall sunshine at Marine Barracks Washington, Senators, Members of Congress, many former Commandants of the United States Marine Corps and hundreds of friends and neighbors witnessed a stirring ceremony as the command was passed from the 34th to the 35th Commandant of the United States Marine Corps.
At approximately 12 noon Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates officiated as a memo from President Obama was read directing the 34th Commandant, General James Conway to relinquish command; then a few seconds later, a second memo from President Obama was read, directing the Assistant Commandant, General James Amos to relinquish command as Assistant Commandant and to report immediately to the Pentagon as the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps.
The morning opened with a concert by “The Commandant’s Own” United States Marine Corps Drum and Bugle Corps. The parade field was ablaze with the red coats of the band and dazzling dress uniforms of the Marine Corps as the ceremony continued with the Formation of the Battalion, the Presentation of the Colors, Honors, the Advancement of the Colors, and the National Anthem. Both the Commandant and Mrs. Conway received awards from Secretary Gates.
The remarks by Secretary Gates, General Conway and General Amos were amazing – all were witty, brief and inspirational. The Transfer of Battle Colors of the Marine Corps from the 34th to the 35th Commandant said it all. General and Mrs. Conway walked away from the mid field ceremony, paused once to wave good bye and vanished into Marine Corps History. Well, almost. A few minutes later both General and Mrs. Conway and General and Mrs. Amos greeted visitors in a receiving line as the celebration of the Change of Command continued at a reception in the garden of the Home of the Commandants.
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