NEW ORLEANS --
Sgt. Maj. Courtney K. Curtis passed the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing sword of office to Sgt Maj. William F. Fitzgerald III during the relief and appointment ceremony on April 14, 2013 at the Marine Corps Support Facility New Orleans. After offering words of thanks to family, friends and colleagues, Curtis was presented his retirement orders after serving a total of 30 years in the Marine Corps by Brig. Gen. William T. Collins, commander of the 4th MAW.
In the support facility auditorium, both sergeants major and the 4th MAW commander addressed the gathered family and friends who braved heavy rains and dangerous driving conditions to attend the ceremony, which had to be moved indoors from its original location on the parade field.
“When you think about 30 years, to kind of put that in perspective, that’s about 13 percent of the history of the United States Marine Corps,” said Collins. “Sgt. Maj. Curtis has been a contributing factor to our history.”
Collins remarked on how Curtis had faithfully served under nine Marine Corps commandants and sergeants major since his enlistment in 1984. Curtis deployed 11 times and endured many changes, from uniforms to worldwide missions and objectives.
“A lot of things have changed, including our leadership and including our Marines,” said Collins. “I will tell you that what hasn’t changed is the quality of the Marines. We have maintained that constantly over the 30 years that both of us have seen.”
Curtis spoke about the importance of the 4th MAW in the integration of the Marine Corps Reserve and active-duty components, as well as the work Lt. Gen. Steven A. Hummer, commander of Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces North, invests in that effort.
“We cannot do what we do without Lt. Gen. Hummer running the show and ensuring that 4th MAW has the opportunity for that close integration,” said Curtis. “He ensures that Gen. Collins has the tools necessary to ensure that we will be a component in the continued integration of the active Reserve and active component.”
Fitzgerald thanked Curtis for his help in getting to know the 4th MAW because it eased his transition into the new unit.
“I certainly look forward to getting out there,” said Fitzgerald. “I certainly appreciate everything you did with the wing and in setting me up for success.”
Curtis served as the sergeant major of the 4th MAW from October 2010 to April 2013. Fitzgerald previously served as the sergeant major for Marine Forces South from September 2009 to March 2013.