Gen. James T. Conway relinquished his position as commandant of the Marine Corps to Gen. James F. Amos during a change-of-command ceremony at Marine Barracks Washington Oct. 22.
Amos said he is ready to lead the “nation’s most ready force,” just moments after receiving the Marine Corps’ official colors, signifying the charge of the Corps is now in his hands.
Each commandant is appointed by the president and serves for four years as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and reports directly to the Secretary of the Department of the Navy.
As stated in Title 10, Section 5043 of the United States Code, the commandant is responsible for the overall performance of the Marine Corps, ensuring plans, organization, policy and programs are created and maintained, as well as advise the president and the secretary of defense on matters involving the Marine Corps.
Amos stated the Marines are the most ready when the nation needs them to be.
Recent humanitarian operations in Haiti, Pakistan and combat operations in Afghanistan are prime examples of the Corps’ worth to this nation and their readiness as a force, “and that will continue to be my main focus as commandant,” said Amos.
Conway said Amos is “absolutely and uniquely qualified to be our commandant.”
Amos, a Wendell, Idaho, native, served as the 31st assistant commandant under Conway from 2008 to 2010. A graduate of the University of Idaho and Marine aviator, Amos is no stranger to leading Marines, having served as commander from the ranks of lieutenant colonel to lieutenant general.
Both generals were all smiles when the command was exchanged on the parade deck of Marine Barracks Washington.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates addressed all in attendance, and expressed his gratitude to Conway’s service.
“[Conway] frequently declared wherever there’s a fight, that’s where the Marine Corps belongs,” said Gates. “We’re saying goodbye to a true warrior. I thank him for his 40 years of service, and leading and mentoring the Marines.”
Conway, born in Walnut Ridge, Ark., and graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, became the 34th commandant Nov. 14, 2006. In the midst of a multi-front war, he created many initiatives to support his Marines in the Long War. One example was the “202K Initiative,” which was established to increase the Marine Corps’ manpower significantly in order to spread the deployment rate out across more Marines.
“We have brave young men and women fighting in Afghanistan right now. It’s a close fight, which has still to be won,” said Conway. “There’s a good sense of optimism for our future.”
As orders were given on behalf of the president of the United States, commanding Conway to stand detached from his duties as commandant, and ordering Amos to stand duty as the most senior Marine in the Corps, a new chapter began, picking up with current operations but with a new Marine in command of all devil dogs.