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Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Carlton W. Kent speaks to Marines representing units throughout the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force at the 21 Area of Camp Pendleton, Calif., April 26. Kent, the 16th sergeant major of the Marine Corps, is touring Marine Corps installations throughout the west coast to speak to as many Marines as possible before his upcoming retirement after 35 years of service. He mentioned during the speech that he made sure to return to the 21 Area where he served as I MEF sergeant major before assuming his current role as the highest-ranking enlisted Marine.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Mark A. Garcia

Sgt. Maj. Kent returns to I MEF for farewell tour

26 Apr 2011 | Cpl. Brian A. Gabriel, Jr.

Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Carlton W. Kent spoke to Marines representing units throughout the I Marine Expeditionary Force at the 21 Area of Camp Pendleton, Calif., April 26.

Kent, the 16th sergeant major of the Marine Corps, is touring Marine Corps installations throughout the west coast speaking to as many Marines as possible before his upcoming retirement after 35 years of service.  He mentioned during the speech that he made sure to return to the 21 Area where he served as I MEF sergeant major before assuming his current role as the highest-ranking enlisted Marine.

The outgoing sergeant major touched on topics including the current state and future of the Marine Corps, the opportunities available for career Marines, and the value of the Marine Corps in today’s world.  

Kent encouraged Marines to take advantage of additional billets like Marine security guard duty in order to be a part of the Marine Corps’ worldwide service.

The Memphis, Tenn., resident spoke specifically to the noncommissioned officers in attendance during his speech, citing their leadership as the reason he was able to serve such a successful career for over 30 years.  He believes that excellent small-unit leadership provides junior Marines with a solid foundation for future success inside or outside the military.  Without having solid mentors early in his Marine Corps career, he felt that his successes would have been completely unobtainable.

Kent also told the audience to rest assured that the Marine Corps would be in good hands with Sgt. Maj. Micheal Barrett, the incoming sergeant major of the Marine Corps.  He said he has full confidence in the abilities of Barrett, the former 1st Marine Division sergeant major, to continue the outstanding job Marines have been doing and also to shape it for the better.