MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga -- Marines, friends, family members and civilian employees gathered here Friday to take part in a Marine Corps Logistics Command Relief and Appointment ceremony. During the ceremony, Sgt. Maj. Stephen Martin, LogCom's outgoing sergeant major, relinquished his duties to Sgt. Maj. Francis Donahue.
Martin, a Peoria, Ill., native, started his career back in 1974 after graduating from recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Calif., as a meritorious private first class. He was then assigned with the 1st Marine Brigade in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. He served there as a radio operator with 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment until he reached the rank of corporal, which he also earned meritoriously.
Martin left active duty in March 1976. A year later, he returned to active duty again as a private first class, and was assigned to Marine Wing Communication Squadron 38, Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro, Calif. While there, he was again meritoriously promoted to the noncommissioned officer ranks of corporal and sergeant.
After switching his military occupational specialty, completing jump school and graduating from the Parachute Packing, Maintenance and Airdrop Course, Martin was assigned to 1st Air Delivery Platoon, 1st Landing Support Battalion, Camp Pendleton, Calif.
In 1981, Martin attended Recruiter School. Upon graduation, he reported to Recruiting Station Detroit, Mich., where he was meritoriously promoted once again, this time to gunnery sergeant. After his recruiting tour, Martin was transferred to 3rd Landing Support Battalion, Okinawa, Japan.
Later, after he was selected for promotion to first sergeant, Martin deployed with 1st Force Reconnaissance Company to Desert Shield/Desert Storm as its Company First Sergeant. He was reassigned in May 1991 as Company First Sergeant of Company A, 9th Communication Battalion, Camp Pendleton, until his transfer in June 1992 to Inspector-Instructor Staff, Company C, 4th Tank Battalion, Boise, Idaho.
In August 1993, Martin was selected for promotion to sergeant major and transferred to Recruiting Station Nashville, Tenn, to serve as its Station Sergeant Major. He was there until 1996, when he was reassigned to Security Force Company, Kings Bay, Ga., for duty until July 30, 1999. Following this tour, he returned to recruiting duty as the 6th Marine Corps District Sergeant Major.
In December 2001, Martin assumed the duties of Sergeant Major for Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany. In January 2003, he stepped in as the LogCom's Sergeant Major.
"I have been in the Corps for 30 years now. I have seen and done things that most people have only dreamed of. To say that I am not sad to leave would be a lie, but I know that my life has been full of adventure and I have lived life to its fullest," Martin said.
The relief and appointment ceremony commenced shortly after the troops marched onto the parade field and "honors" were rendered to Maj. Gen. Harold Mashburn, LogCom's commanding general.
During the first part of the ceremony, the Noncommissioned Officer sword was exchanged between the two sergeants major. Giving the sword away symbolizes being relieved of all duties pertaining to that post, and receiving the sword symbolizes taking on those duties.
It doesn't seem that accepting these duties will be a problem at all for Sgt. Maj. Donahue, as he too has accomplished a lot throughout his Marine Corps career.
A Boston, Mass., native, Donahue enlisted in the Marine Corps in September 1978, graduating recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C.
His first assignment was at Communications School in Camp Geiger, N.C., followed by a tour at Headquarters and Ground Maintenance Squadron 27, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C.
In 1980, Donahue was sent to Marine Security Guard School, Quantico, Va. Upon graduating the school, he was assigned to work at the American Embassy in Guyana, South America.
As a sergeant in 1983, Donahue went on to attend Drill Instructor School at Parris Island. Upon completion of D.I. School, he served with Company F, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion. During his tour there, he was meritoriously promoted to staff sergeant.
In April 1987, Donahue reported to Aviation Officer Candidate School in Pensacola for duty as a drill instructor. A short time after being there, he was meritoriously promoted to gunnery sergeant.
Following his tour at Marine Barracks, Ground Defense Force, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Donahue returned to Aviation Officer Candidate School in April 1992 as the chief instructor during consolidation of Aviation Officer Candidate School and Officer Candidate School.
In October 1994, after pinning on first sergeant, Donahue reported to 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, to serve as the Company First Sergeant for Company C and Weapons Company.
Donahue was selected for sergeant major in February 1998, and reported to Marine Expeditionary Unit Service Support Group-24 in May for duty as the MSSG-24 Sergeant Major.
In September 2000, Donahue reported to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, S.C. for duty as the Marine Transport Squadron One Sergeant Major. A year later, he was transferred to 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion, Tampa, Fla., where he served as I & I Sergeant Major.
In January 2003, he deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and was reassigned as the I Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group Sergeant Major. Upon his return to the U.S. in June of that same year, he reassumed his duties as I & I Sergeant Major before coming here to LogCom.
"I have been through a lot in my career in the Corps so far," Donahue said. "I have done things that will help me in completing my duties as the sergeant major of Logistics Command."
In speaking on Donahue's character, Martin said he was glad that he got time to talk to Donahue and get to know him and the way he is.
"I got to know him in the last couple of days," Martin said. "He is a very trusting person, and I have no worries about him taking over this position and picking up where I left off."
The relief and appointment ceremony was followed by Martin's retirement ceremony in which the commanding general honored him with a Legion of Merit award.
His other awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal and Kuwait Liberation Medal.