BLOUNT ISLAND COMMAND, JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --
Col. Steve R. Peters assumed command of Blount Island Command and Marine Corps Support Facility Blount Island, from Col. Joseph K. Haviland in ceremonies Friday in Jacksonville, Fla.
“I feel great for the Marine Corps, for this command, and I feel good for Colonel Peters as he carries this command to new heights of excellence. The Marine Corps always has new leaders ready to take over when needed. Marines feed off each other, and that’s why we’re the way we are,” said Haviland after the ceremony, commenting on how the Marine Corps has a long history of providing leaders ready to take on new responsibilities.
Haviland, whose next posting is at Installations and Logistics, Headquarters Marine Corps, cited the friendships he built while at BICMD.
“Probably the most meaningful thing I’ll take with me from Blount Island Command is the friendships I’ve gained here and the respect I have for the people who serve this great organization,” he explained.
Peters, who was most recently assistant chief of staff, G-4, Marine Forces Pacific, Camp Smith, Hawaii, praised Haviland for the work he had done at BICMD.
“He certainly did a tremendous job here setting the foundation for the retrograde of equipment out of Iraq and the movement of equipment into Afghanistan. I want to build on that. He’s a tremendous planner and the folks here at Blount Island Command are truly spectacular.”
The future of Marine operations in Afghanistan, and the Marine Corps equipment needed to fulfill that mission, is at the top of the list for Peters, whose arrival coincides with the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade buildup.
“Right now, Afghanistan is the commandant’s number one priority, and we execute his priorities,” he explained.
As the executive agent for Marine Corps Prepositioning programs, BICMD plans, coordinates and executes the logistics efforts needed to support Maritime Prepositioning Ships and the Marine Corps Prepositioning Program-Norway. Haviland’s efforts to guide such an undertaking were ‘well done’ according to senior officers in attendance at the change of command.
“I don’t think anybody could dream up a commander with more on the ball, with more get up and go, more initiative, drive and ambition than our outgoing commander,” said Maj. Gen. Carl B. Jensen, commanding general, Marine Corps Installations East. “Joe Haviland is amazing.”
Seeing Haviland leave BICMD for another billet, and Peters move into the BICMD job, prompted Maj. Gen. Willie J. Williams, commanding general, Marine Corps Logistics Command, to reflect on the job the Marine Corps does in preparing leaders.
“I think it is a testament to the way we as a Corps select our leaders and how we continue to develop them. It is always good to have new individuals with new perspectives come in and progress the command, the functions, the ideas,” he said.
“And, so, as we transition from one commander to the next, I think that is what the Marine Corps looks for out of our commanders, for them to come in, to continue to build on the legacy of those who have gone before.
“History is important to the Marine Corps and we take the legacy that has been built by those who have gone before and continue to build on it, especially during a time of war.
“We have accomplished so much, but there is so much still to be done and new commanders are there with new energy to progress toward that.”