Dozens of service members, family and friends gathered at Bordelon Field, Camp H.M Smith, Hawaii, for the appointment of Headquarters and Service Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific’s, incoming sergeant major and outgoing sergeant major’s retirement April 16.
Under constant cloud cover and rain, Sgt. Maj. James Roberts Jr. passed the mantle of HQSVC Bn. sergeant major to Sgt. Maj. Scott M. Smith.
The two senior enlisted Marines spent the last few weeks transitioning to ensure the Marines under their charge receive the quality leadership and continuity they deserve.
“My goals as your new sergeant major are first of all the mission, making sure that we are providing that direct support required by the MarForPac headquarters,” Smith said. “From what I’ve seen, that’s happening and I want to continue seeing that happen as smoothly as possible. My second goal is focusing on noncommissioned officer mentorship and development, because it’s at that corporal and sergeant level where we make our money.”
The battalion commander said Smith is a Marine who is dedicated to the mission and wellbeing of his Marines.
“I think we’re going to have a good time working together and that’s the key,” said Col. Alan L. Thoma, H&S Bn. Commander.
The ceremony ended with Roberts’ retirement, after nearly 30 years of service. During which, he received a Legion of Merit Medal, a U.S. flag as well as several certificates for his honorable service.
Despite the weather, Roberts was cheerful as always and smiling from ear-to-ear, demonstrating the friendly and approachable manner he used to lead Marines throughout his career.
“I joined almost 30 years ago and it has been a privilege to grow a little grey in the Corps… just a little,” he joked. “I’ve lived my dream. Now it’s time for me to drop my pack and let the younger Marines bare the load. Never forget that what you are doing is honorable work.”
He left with some advice for all Marines, the secret to his success.
“Be where your supposed to be, when your suppose to be there, in the right uniform and in the right mindset,” he said. “Accept every challenge. Thank you, Semper Fi.”
Roberts officially retires Sept. 1 and will dedicate the rest of his life to his college education and mentoring at-risk teenagers.