Photo Information

Colonel James Stopa, right, commanding officer, II Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group (Forward), and Sgt. Maj. Joseph Shaw, sergeant major, II MHG (Fwd), uncase the unit's Battle Colors during a transfer of authority ceremony aboard Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, Jan 24, 2013. The unit takes over for I MHG (Fwd) in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Photo by Cpl. Timothy Lenzo

I MEF Headquarters Group transfer authority to II MEF Headquarters Group

26 Jan 2013 | Cpl. Timothy Lenzo

CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan –Marines and sailors with I Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group (Forward) handed over their responsibility to II MHG (Fwd) during a transfer of authority ceremony aboard Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, Jan. 24.

Service members with I MHG (Fwd) oversaw times of great triumph as well as overcame challenges during their yearlong deployment to Helmand province.

“The security job the Marines have done with our partners have made a tremendous difference,” said Maj. Gen. Charles Gurganus, Commanding General, Regional Command Southwest. “For all that (Col. James B. Hanlon) and his great Marines have done, Marines from several different battalions thank you.”

During the last year, the Marines and sailors partnered with service members from the United Kingdom, Denmark and Tonga. They provided logistic support for advisor teams and were responsible for the security on Camp Leatherneck.

“It was an honor to be a commanding officer of these fine groups of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen,” said Hanlon, commanding officer, I MHG (Fwd). “They go come home knowing they did a job well done.”

The command was responsible for many tasks while deployed. The unit retrograded nearly 40,000 items. Their major subordinate units are embedded throughout the province. They provided upgraded security to Camp Leatherneck. They were also responsible for the billeting, food services and detention services on the base.

“Things have changed in the last year,” said Hanlon. “We’ve increased our missions and taken on more duties.”

The Marines did not let the increased duties influence the quality of their work. They continued to maintain the high standard expected from a deployed Marine unit.

“(These Marines and sailors) give us our security and safety we have every day and run the headquarters for us,” said Maj. Gen. Gurganus. “These (service members’) jobs are every bit as important as we are.”

With the drawdown in troops and the retrograde and redistribution process, the Marines completed more tasks with fewer personnel, a testament to their work ethic and professionalism.

“We really appreciate all (I MHG (Fwd)) did for us,” said Col. James Stopa, commanding officer, II MHG (Fwd). “They established a firm foundation for us. Their attention to detail, professionalism and their mission follow through right up to the very end really set us up for success.”

The Marines and sailors with II MHG (Fwd) will take the reins from a unit that prided itself on professionalism. The servicemembers will continue the retrograde process that I MHG (Fwd) started as they take over during a critical time of Operation Enduring Freedom.

“There is no doubt in my mind II MHG (Fwd) is going to take our mission to the next level,” said Hanlon. “I know it’ll probably change as much it changed with us. The next year for II MHG (Fwd) will be outstanding.”