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Lariviere takes over command of 4th Marine Division

By Maj. Paul Greenberg | | April 16, 2010

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Brig. Gen. James Lariviere assumed command of the 4th Marine Division at a ceremony held April 10 at Fort Worth Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Texas.

Lariviere replaced Maj. Gen. James Williams, who retired during the ceremony after 34 years of honorable service to the Corps.

Williams had served as the division commander since April 2007.

During the course of his career, Williams commanded the 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment and was deputy commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force Augmentation Command Element. He was also deputy director of operations for Combined Joint Task Force-180, conducting combat operations in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom.

The new commanding general comes to the division headquarters in New Orleans from Washington D.C., where he oversaw efforts to fully utilize and integrate the Marine Corps Reserve in support of active duty Marine forces as Director of Reserve Affairs Division, Headquarters Marine Corps.

“It’s an honor to serve once again with the Marines and Sailors of 4th Marine Division,” said Lariviere in a recent interview. “The members of this division contribute to the heritage of the Marine Corps and the Marine Corps Reserve every day through their service around the world. They helped win the peace in Iraq and continue the fight in Afghanistan. It’s a privilege to be amongst these warriors again and to lead them into the next chapter in the division’s history.”

A 1979 graduate of The Citadel Military College of South Carolina, Lariviere has served in the following billets while on active duty: reconnaissance platoon commander with 2nd Marine Division in Beirut, Lebanon; barracks assistant operations officer and company commander at the Marine Barracks in Washington, D.C.; company commander for two overseas deployments on the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit; and small boat navigation and raid operations instructor at Landing Force Training Command in Little Creek, Va.

“My first priority is to continue the success story,” explained Lariviere. “Simply put, the division’s primary mission is to provide trained, ready and interoperable reserve units to augment and reinforce the active Marine Corps…. The second priority will be to provide forces for ‘phase zero’ operations (international crisis prevention) as we conduct theater security cooperation missions around the globe. Finally, we will participate in large-scale exercises such as Javelin Thrust 2010 as we support the Commandant’s efforts to return to our expeditionary and amphibious core competencies.”

Lariviere’s reserve experience with 4th Marine Division includes a tour as the 25th Marine Regiment assistant operations officer in Fort Devens, Mass. and commanding officer of 3rd Force Reconnaissance Company in Mobile, Ala. for deployments to Panama and Norway.

He also served as the assistant chief of staff, G-5 plans officer for the 4th Marine Division’s Washington D.C. Liaison Detachment in the Office of Legislative Affairs.

“In a broad sense, my time on ‘The Hill’ gave me a perspective on the close relationship between the (U.S.) Congress and the Marine Corps,” said Lariviere. “More specifically, my time on the House Armed Services Committee as a defense policy staffer allowed me the opportunity to engage at the highest levels in a wide variety of policy issues facing the Department of Defense. In doing so, I gained an appreciation for the Marine Corps’ contribution to our national security. At the Veterans Affairs Committee, I was able to observe first-hand the dedication and commitment both members of Congress and Department of Veterans Affairs employees have for America’s veterans. In particular, I was privileged to be directly engaged with America’s wounded warriors. I am always awed, inspired and humbled by their sacrifice, continued dedication and patriotism.”

The 4th Marine Division, a major subordinate command of Marine Forces Reserve, is comprised of more than 19,000 active duty and reserve Marines and Sailors. More than 120 division units and detachments are located at reserve training centers geographically dispersed across the United States.

Most reservists have full-time civilian jobs or are university students. Reservists attend weekend drills, usually in the local area, once a month. They also attend an extended annual training (between two and four weeks), in the spring or summer.

Sometimes these annual training sessions take place at a nearby military base. On other occasions reserve units participate in international exercises in countries such as Australia, Morocco and South Korea.

The purpose of these weekend drills and annual training sessions is to conduct Marine Corps combat skills instruction and to ensure proficiency in the reservists’ military occupational specialties.

Today’s Marine Corps Reserve is an operational reserve. Marine reservists can be mobilized for up to a year in support of overseas contingency operations. All of the 4th Marine Division’s units have been activated at least once since September 2001.

Each of the division’s nine infantry battalions have deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and some division units and detachments have seen tours in Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa, as well.

The division’s 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion is currently conducting operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Third Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, headquartered in Brook Park, Ohio, has orders to mobilize in May and will deploy to the Central Command area of operations in the fall. 

“The nation and Marine Corps remains in a global war against violent extremism,” concluded Lariviere. “For the foreseeable future, the 4th Marine Division will continue to contribute forces in support of this fight as part of the operational reserve. I look forward to serving again with the Marines and Sailors of the ‘Fighting Fourth’ as we write a new chapter in the division’s history.”


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