CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Major General Melvin G. Spiese, deputy commanding general of I Marine Expeditionary Force retired after 36 years of service during a ceremony aboard Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, March 1.
Spiese served with I MEF since September 2010 and served as the commanding general of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade until December 2012 before transferring authority to Brig. Gen. John J. Broadmeadow.
“It is with immense satisfaction that I’ve had the opportunity to have influence on the institution in so many places and be able to leave knowing that some of the things I’ve had a chance to participate in will last long after my memory has faded,” Spiese said.
Guests including the Honorable Robert O. Work, Under Secretary of the Navy joined Spiese and his family.
“I’m glad he could spend his last tour leading Marines as the deputy commanding general of I MEF, and the commanding general of 1st MEB,” Work said during the ceremony. “All of us got to have a glimpse of what a great commander he is.”
The ceremony featured a display of ground and air equipment unique to the Marine Air Ground Task Force and a ceremonial formation of Marines comprised of the I Marine Headquarters Group, 1st Marine Division, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, and 1st Marine Logistics Group.
Under Spiese’s leadership, 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade conducted large -scale exercises to build the brigade as a crisis response force, capable of self-sustained operations that could range from combat operations to humanitarian assistance.
“Training and education is in his blood,” Work said. “The Dawn Blitz exercise has his fingerprints all over it. He helped design and implement the complex contingency exercise that’s executed at Fleet Week in San Francisco.”
Spiese was commissioned via the Naval Reserves Officer Training Corps program after receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in May of 1976. His time as a Marine officer led him to numerous units including Marine Barracks, Naval Weapons Station, Concord, Calif., Headquarters Marine Corps, Marine Aircraft Group 12, Iwakuni Japan and U.S. Special Operations Command to name a few.
Spiese has been awarded three Legion of Merit awards, the Joint Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, three Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals and the Joint Service Achievement Medal.
“I will miss the privilege of saluting in uniform when we honor our country with the national anthem,” Spiese said. “The thing I’ll miss the most is spending my days with fellow Marines.”