USA — Amos Succeeds Conway as Marine Commandant

WASHINGTON, Oct. 22, 2010 — In a sun-drenched cer­e­mo­ny here today, Gen. James F. Amos received the bat­tle flag of the U.S. Marine Corps from Gen. James T. Con­way and became the 35th Com­man­dant of the Marine Corps.

Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates, who presided at the cer­e­mo­ny, praised both Amos and Con­way for their mil­i­tary careers and their ded­i­ca­tion to America. 

“As com­man­dant, Jim made the health of the force a top pri­or­i­ty, ensur­ing his Marines had the right tools for the job and new Marines were of the high­est qual­i­ty,” Gates said. He not­ed that on Conway’s watch, the Marine Corps grew to 202,000 mem­bers exceed­ing both DOD and Marine Corps stan­dards. Gates gave the ser­vice five years to increase by 27,000 Marines and they accom­plished the mis­sion in less than half that time. 

Con­way also put aside the resources need­ed to care for ill or injured Marines, Gates said. 

“He estab­lished the Wound­ed War­rior reg­i­ment to pro­vide state-of-the-art care and out­reach to wound­ed or sick Marines and their fam­i­lies, and to do so long after they had left the ser­vice,” the sec­re­tary said. 

Gates called the Marine Corps “one of America’s most-cher­ished insti­tu­tions and one of the world’s most feared and respect­ed fight­ing forces.” 

The Marine Corps, the sec­re­tary not­ed, has spent the last eight years essen­tial­ly as an army force, with­out employ­ing its famous amphibi­ous skills. 

“They need to pre­serve both their mar­itime soul and the hard-won coun­terin­sur­gency skills they’ve devel­oped dur­ing this past decade,” Gates said. “Doing this will demand an intel­lec­tu­al capac­i­ty sim­i­lar to that of Marine Corps fore­bears who devel­oped nov­el amphibi­ous war­fare con­cepts in the years lead­ing up to World War II.” 

Gates said that Amos, the first Marine avi­a­tor to be com­man­dant, is the man to tack­le the challenge. 

“He will, I’m con­fi­dent, find the right bal­ance to cre­ate what is need­ed to win the wars we’re in, while ensur­ing Marines remain the expe­di­tionary force in readi­ness for the 21st cen­tu­ry,” Gates said. 

Con­way thanked the sec­re­tary and praised his suc­ces­sor. The out­go­ing com­man­dant also spoke of Amer­i­can ser­vice­mem­bers in harm’s way. 

“There’s lots of work still to be done, and a close fight still to be won,” Con­way said. It’s impor­tant, he added, that Amer­i­cans “under­stand the impor­tant job” per­formed by the Marines and oth­er U.S. ser­vice­mem­bers deployed in war zones. 

“We want them to win and come home safe. So I ask you to con­tin­ue to pro­vide that sup­port. And I think you’ll be pleased with the out­come,” Con­way said. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

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