CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq -- Brig. Gen. Dennis J. Hejlik took command of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade in a change of command ceremony July 13 at the Camp Fallujah, Iraq chapel.
Hejlik, who also serves as the I Marine Expeditionary Force deputy commanding general, received the brigade's colors from Maj. Gen. Keith M. Stalder, who now commands the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.
At the ceremony, Hejlik addressed Lt. Gen. James T. Conway, the commanding general of I MEF.
"General Conway, thank you for the trust and confidence and this opportunity to command the 1st MEB," said Hejlik, "It's a highlight for me, so thank you very much."
He also addressed members of the MEB he would now command.
"My fellow Marines and Sailors, I'll give you one-hundred-and-ten percent in leading this wonderful MEB," said Hejlik, whose previous assignment was director of the Center for Policy, Training and Readiness at U.S. Special Operations Command. "I'm both proud and honored to be here as a member of I MEF."
A Marine Expeditionary Brigade - which falls between a Marine Expeditionary Unit and a Marine Expeditionary Force in size - generally consists of a reinforced infantry regiment, combat service support battalion and composite Marine aircraft group. 1st MEB's command element is drawn from members of the I MEF command element, and can operate either as the lead element for a deployment of the MEF or as a stand-alone unit.
"The 1st MEB did a lot of the groundwork that was laid for what eventually became the I MEF effort over here in Iraq," said Stalder. "I was honored to have been a part of that initial planning and initial effort. I want to thank the MEF staff and those members of the MEB staff who helped me out and did so much work in those days early on in planning that transition to the MEF effort."