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Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

"The West Coast's Premier Fleet Marine Force Training Base"

Pendleton hosts commanding general change of command ceremony

By Sgt. Valerie C. Eppler | | August 1, 2014

Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton hosted a change of command ceremony at the 11 Area Parade Field at 10 a.m., Aug. 1. Brig. Gen. John W. Bullard relinquished command of Marine Corps Installations West and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton to Brig. Gen. Edward D. Banta.

Bullard who served as commanding general here since August 2013, acting as both commanding general for Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton as well as commanding general for MCI-West is retiring after 31 years of honorable and faithful military service.

“Things are so different now than when I came in in the eighties, said Bullard about training, technology and equipment available to Marines currently. “But while other things have changed, esprite de corps stays the same.  I have enjoyed every moment of it, but we are ready to open a new chapter in our lives.”

Bullard received the Distinguished Service Medal from Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus applying exemplary management skills in leading five bases and stations that provided critical service support to 50 thousand Marines, sailors and family members.  His emphasis on emergency management and his personal relationship with local, state and federal officials facilitated rapid extinguishment and recovery from numerous wildfires without adverse impact to operational readiness. By stressing training area modernization, infrastructure improvements, and safety enforcement, he improved the quality of life for military members and their families throughout the region.

Before taking command of MCI-West, Banta served as the commanding general of 2nd Marine Logistics Group in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.  In a letter to Banta from the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James F. Amos, wrote Banta’s efforts were crucial to strengthening the logistics support capabilities during periods of reorganization and reduction.

“This is a little bit of a homecoming for us,” said Banta.  “(My wife) Molly and I grew up in the greater San Diego area and have a lot of friends and family here and we have served here before. It is absolutely wonderful coming back.”

In attendance were distinguished military guests which included Lt. Gen. Terry G. Robling, commander U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific; Maj. Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson, commanding general 1st Marine Division; and Maj. Gen. Juan G. Ayala, commander Marine Corps Installations Command.

Many state and local government officials also attended the ceremony including Senator Barbra Boxer, Congressman Darrell Issa, California Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood and the honorary Mayor of Fallbrook Martin Quiroz.

Ayala spoke to the audience about Bullard’s accomplishments, highlighting one in particular.

“Camp Pendleton had two major wildfires. Jay brought in the mutual aid assets to fight the fires alongside our firefighters and the local community. It was a great team effort. Because of his effort there was a minimal amount of damage done to property and no Marine, no family member was hurt, despite the fact there was an immense amount of displacement.”

In lieu of the traditional presentation of flowers to the outgoing and incoming generals’ spouses, Sandy Bullard and Molly Banta have elected to have a donation made to the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society instead to continue support for the Marines, sailors, civilian employees and families of MCI-West and MCB Camp Pendleton.

MCI-West’s primary mission is training, sustaining and making deployment-ready Marines and to provide families with services that enrich their lives. It is comprised of five Marine Corps installations; Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, MCAS Miramar, and Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow in California and MCAS Yuma, Ariz. MCI-West provides service support to more than 50,000 Marines, sailors, family members and civilian employees.