The Nation’s Top Enlisted Marine is Now a Black Man


By Nigel Boys

Following in the footsteps of Edgar Huff, who became the first black man to hold the position as Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps in 1955, Ronald L. Green, who has 31 years of experience, was announced as the next Sergeant Major this week by Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr.

The Commandant of the Marine Corps announced with great pleasure on Tuesday that Green would take over the duties of Sgt. Maj. Michael P. Barrett, who had held the position since June 2011.

“His dynamic leadership is well known throughout the ranks of our Corps,” the Commander said of Green. “His wide range of experience in both peacetime and combat, and his record of performance make him extraordinarily well-qualified to serve as our senior enlisted leader.”

Green, who is the current Sergeant Major of I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF) at Camp Pendleton in California, will take over his duties on Feb. 20 at a ceremony at the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia.

Dunford also spoke about Barrett during the announcement, stating that during his years of service, he had greatly improved the training, education, compensation and quality of life for Marines. He added that Barrett had poured out his heart in his service to his country, Marines, sailors and their families. He said Barrett had increased on-base housing facilities and family support programs.

Green was enlisted into the Marines in 1983 and completed his recruit training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot on Parris Island in South Carolina. His first official assignment was as a cannon cocker with Hotel Battery, 3rd Battalion,  and 11th Marines, according to his biography.

Although Green is expected to serve for the next four years, his position length is at the discretion of the Commandant who chose him. The duties of his office include being the senior enlisted advisor to the Commandant.

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