Boeblingen, BW, Germany -- Marines, Sailors and civilians from U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa took part in a socially distanced change of command ceremony, as well as a post-and-relief ceremony, today to mark the appointment of their new commander and sergeant major.
Major General Stephen M. Neary assumed his duties as the new commander, receiving the headquarters’ organizational colors from the outgoing commander, Maj. Gen. Patrick J. Hermesmann. The ceremony was jointly presided over by Gen. Tod D. Wolters, commander of U.S. European Command and Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, commander of U.S. Africa Command.
Also at the ceremony, Sgt. Maj. Aaron G. McDonald assumed the responsibilities of sergeant major for the headquarters, relieving Sgt. Maj Michael Woods, who has served as the command’s sergeant major since 2018.
Hermesmann, who has commanded MARFOREUR/AF since July 2019, presided over initiatives that: increased NATO’s capacity for allied amphibious operations; enhanced Navy-Marine Corps integration into plans, operations and exercises; deployed Marines to Norway’s high north for challenging training alongside NATO allies in arctic and mountainous conditions; and conducted military-to-military engagements and training alongside African partners.
“I’m deeply proud of the accomplishments of our Marines and Sailors,” said Hermesmann. “As we continue to implement the transformation of the Marine Corps force design, this headquarters will continue to ensure the Navy-Marine Corps team remains innovative, capable and lethal in its operations throughout Europe and Africa.”
Neary, who recently relinquished the posts of II Marine Expeditionary Force deputy commander and commander of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, reiterated the outgoing commander’s praise for his Marines and challenged them to push themselves even further.
“MARFOREUR/AF has set the bar very high with its exercises, training and real-world operations throughout the EUCOM and AFRICOM areas of operations,” said Neary. “I know that our Marines will continue to raise the bar as we support the Marine Corps’ transition to a more lethal and dynamic organization, ready to win in 21st century combat operations.”