STUTTGART, Germany — Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Michael P. Woods has assumed responsibility as Command Senior Enlisted Leader of U.S. Africa Command from Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Richard Thresher following a Change of Responsibility ceremony at Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart, Germany held on April 28, 2023.
“Today we bid farewell to Sgt. Maj. Thresher, whose unparalleled tenure as the most senior active duty sergeant major embodies his dedication to the Corps and his fellow service members.” said Marine Corps Gen. Michael Langley, Commander of U.S. Africa Command, “And the relationships he’s built with African partners will leave a positive impact for generations.”
The ceremony marks the close of a three-year tour by Thresher. “Thank you to all the military members and civilians for all the hard work and many long hours. It has been a pleasure serving alongside of you all and I hope we made Africa a little better. Best of luck to you all in the future”
Sgt. Maj. Woods arrived in Stuttgart from Camp Smith, Hawaii where he served as the senior enlisted leader of the U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific.
“General Langley, I promise you today Sir, and every day that I will give the best part of myself to our mission and our team” He said.
A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Sgt. Maj. Woods participated in Operations Decisive Endeavor, Silver Wake, and Guardian Retrieval while deployed with Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 1st Battalion, 8th Marines. He deployed with BLT 3d Battalion, 6th Marines, participating in Operations Joint Guard and Southern Watch/Desert Thunder. As well, he participated in numerous phases of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
Woods additionally served as a Marine Security Guard in Rangoon Burma; as a Drill Instructor, Senior Drill Instructor, and Staff Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of the Water Survival Section in Parris Island, South Carolina; as First Sergeant of Company B, Marine Barracks Washington, DC; and as the Sergeant Major of Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Crisis Response Africa 15-2; U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Europe and Africa; and III Marine Expeditionary Force.
His decorations include the Legion of Merit with three gold stars, Bronze Star Medal with “V” and one gold star, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with “V” one gold star, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with “V” and two gold stars, and the Combat Action Ribbon with one gold star.
U.S. Africa Command is one of six U.S. Department of Defense geographic combatant commands. The command is responsible for all U.S. military operations, exercises, security cooperation, and conducts crisis response on the African continent in order to advance U.S. interests and promote regional security, stability, and prosperity.
For more information on AFRICOM, please visit www.africom.mil and its social media platforms.