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Photo Information

The color guard marches forward for the playing of the national anthem during the I Marine Expeditionary Force sergeant major relief and appointment ceremony on Camp Pendleton, Calif., May 18, 2018. Sgt. Maj. James Porterfield replaced Sgt. Maj. Bradley Kasal as I MEF sergeant major. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jacob Farbo)

Photo by Cpl. Jacob Farbo

Sgt. Maj. Kasal passes on the sword of office

21 May 2018 | Sgt. Timothy Valero I Marine Expeditionary Force

Marines, Sailors and guests gathered for the relief and appointment ceremony of Sgt. Maj Bradley Kasal and Sgt. Maj. James Porterfield on the parade field on Camp Pendleton, May 18, 2018.

Kasal, who was appointed I MEF Sergeant Major in 2015, relinquished the sword of office to Porterfield, whose previous billet was sergeant major of 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.

“It is critical to have a great turnover because, as Marines, we want to hand it over in better condition— everything from our gear, our weapons, our facilities and most importantly our people,” said Kasal. “The better turn over I can do to set my replacement, Sgt. Maj. Porterfield, up for success, it will help those Marines and Sailors who are the backbone of what we do every day here at I MEF.”

The position of sergeant major is important to ensuring good order and discipline in the Marines of the command while serving as a leader and an advisor to the commander.

“One of the most important things the sergeant major brings to the table is to be the advocate for all of the 53,000 Marines and Sailors within the MEF,” said Kasal. “While the Marines are out there doing their jobs of training and preparing to fight our nation’s enemy, they need me to be the one advocating for policies that might affect them and helping contribute to training and readiness, so the Marines can concentrate on their job.”

Porterfield said he is honored to hold his position and knows his experiences have prepared him to be the voice and advocate of the Marines and Sailors of I MEF.

“Throughout my career I have had diverse opportunities and billets which helped shape me for who I am today along with some exceptional mentors and guidance throughout my time,” said Porterfield. “All of these [experiences] coming together over the 29 years has been my secret to success.”

With his years of experience, Porterfield looks forward to leading the Marines and Sailors of I MEF into the future.

“I am both honored and humbled to continue to lead the legacy of I MEF,” said Porterfield. “Throughout our history I MEF has been the warfighting organization that our country and nation has leaned on.”

Porterfield wants the Marines and Sailors to remember the commitment they made to the Marine Corps as he takes his position as I MEF sergeant major.

“I want all the Marines and Sailors to continue to live up to our core values of honor, courage and commitment,” said Porterfield. “More importantly, to take care of each other both on and off duty and not just have a bystander mentality, because we need to make sure we truly protect what we have earned.”

As Kasal relinquishes the sword of office to Porterfield and prepares to retire, he leaves a message for the Marines and Sailors of I MEF.

“I want every Marine and Sailor to understand they enlisted for a reason and a purpose,” said Kasal. “That purpose was to do something better, to swear to support and defend the constitution, and to be a part of something greater. I ask the Marines and Sailors to always be proud of that.”

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I Marine Expeditionary Force