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26 January 2001 Change of Command|
You Are Invited . . .
Change of Command Address
General Hagee, General Bolden and Jackie, General Trautman and Zoe,
General Lehnert, Colonel Condra and Nancy, Colonel Buland and Peggy, distinguished guests,
family, friends, and fellow Marines.
A respected military theorist once wrote that the hallmark of all effective military
organizations is high morale; what he called "elan," or "esprit de corps."
His name was Colonel Ardant du Picq and he was killed by an artillery shell in the final days
of the Franco-Prussian War--leading from the front--in full view of his men.
It's fair to say that the fatal explosion was as much a surprise to the Colonel as the War
itself was to the average French citizen.
Ironically, only months before the war, Colonel du Picq lamented that military esprit is
exceptionally difficult to maintain when the general public senses no credible foreign threat
to their vital interests.
One could argue that Americans have fostered a similar view of the world since 1991.
Yet before you are arrayed the Marines of Attack Squadron 513; disciplined, well-trained
and highly motivated.
For this, great credit goes to Sergeant Major Jackson and Lieutenant Colonel Hunt.
Despite unprecedented materiel and personnel challenges, their adroit leadership and teamwork
have kept the Flying Nightmares sharp and poised for recovery to high combat readiness.
As a first contribution the esprit of the Nightmares, I would like to conclude my
comments expeditiously, with heartfelt thanks to Lieutenant Colonel Hunt for his superb
stewardship; the Third Marine Aircraft Wing Band for their typically outstanding support;
and to all of you for your presence here today.
I particularly wish to thank the Marines of VMA-513 for their warm welcome, hospitality, and
enthusiastic participation in this traditional ceremony.
I think that you can see on my face how eager I am to join them in service to our
great nation. Thank you.
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