NEW ORLEANS --
4th Marine Division welcomed its new commanding general during a change of command ceremony held at Marine Corps Support Facility New Orleans, April 7, 2017.
Maj. Gen. Burke W. Whitman assumed command of 4th MARDIV and relieved Brig. Gen. Paul K. Lebidine of his duties.
Whitman, an officer of Marines since 1986, has commanded at multiple levels, including the Deputy Commander of 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force and the director of Marine and Family Division.
During the ceremony Whitman spoke of serving the country, the Marines of 4th MARDIV and his plans for the future.
“I’ve been wearing this uniform for 31 years,” said Whitman. “I’ve been asked why I do it. It’s because I love to serve our country. But I particularly love serving the Marines that serve our country. I am utterly committed to our Marines, so that we may be the most effective force out there.”
Lt. Gen. Rex C. McMillian, commanding general of Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces North, also spoke during the ceremony.
“It’s tough to see General Lebidine walk out the door and leave the 4th division,” said McMillian. “He’s been a hell of a commanding general and he has done a phenomenal job with the 4th Marine Division.”
Lebidine enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1984. In 1986 after being meritoriously promoted to corporal, he was selected for the Enlisted Commissioning Program and commissioned later that year.
Throughout his 33 year Marine Corps Career, Lebidine has served in many roles, including the Camp Commander of Camp Babylon, Iraq, the Commanding General of Force Headquarters Group, Marine Forces Reserve, and finally becoming the Commanding General of 4th MARDIV in November of 2015.
Lebidine’s personal awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with gold star, Bronze Star with two gold stars, Meritorious Service Medal, and Combat Action Ribbon with gold star.
During the ceremony Lebidine reflected on his military career and time at MARFORRES as commanding general of 4th MARDIV.
“When I got here I was hoping to leave a legacy behind for whoever follows me,” said Lebidine. “But, instead, I have learned so much from the Marines in 4th Division. They have made me a better Marine.”
Lebidine also thanked his wife and daughter for their support of his career, and personally thanked his officers, instructor and inspectors, and sergeants major.
“Sorry for all the things I’ve missed,” said Lebidine to his wife and daughter as he presented them with his 4th MARDIV challenge coin. “I couldn’t have done any of this without my family and their support.”
Lebidine pointed out each of his regimental commanders, and sergeants major that attended the ceremony, and thanked them for their help and support.
Lebidine also gave his approval of Maj. Gen. Whitman, and confidence in his ability to lead 4th MARDIV.
“There could be no better leader,” said Lebidine. “I can’t think of anyone better then General Whitman and Sergeant Major Miller to lead the Division.”