By SDCN Editor
Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, CA–U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. George W. Smith Jr. relinquished command of I Marine Expeditionary Force to Maj. Gen. Bradford Gering, former commanding general of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, on Camp Pendleton.
The succession of command ceremony was presided over by Gen. Eric Smith, Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps. Smith Jr. will retire next month after nearly 40 years of faithful and committed service to the Marine Corps.
Over the past two years, Smith Jr. oversaw an increase of I MEF deployments to, and engagement in, the Indo-Pacific, and ensured Marines were postured to deter aggression and reassure allies and partners across the globe.
“We are laser-focused on the Indo-Pacific, as directed, but make no mistake, this MEF is prepared to fight and win in any clime and place,” said Smith. “If you are to question that, I’ll tell you, over the course of the last year, Marines and Sailors from this MEF have operated and exercised in every geographic combatant command.”
Smith Jr. recognized Gering’s previous impact at I MEF through his steadfast leadership as the former 3d MAW commanding general, saying, “We have no finer officer in our Corps.”
Maj. Gen. Gering, who relinquished command of 3d MAW in June of this year, focused on maintaining and building on the MEF’s readiness and operational excellence.
“I am confident in the trajectory this MEF is on based on the leadership of Lt. Gen. Smith,” said Gering. “I promise you that during my time here, that trajectory and warrior climate will continue on my watch.”
I MEF provides the Marine Corps with a globally responsive, expeditionary, and fully scalable Marine Air-Ground Task Force, capable of generating, deploying, and employing ready forces and formations for crisis response, forward presence, major combat operations, and campaigns.