Fort Leonard Wood, home to the largest Marine Corps Detachment outside a Marine base, welcomed Marine Col. Ralph Rizzo Jr. in a change-of-command ceremony held Friday on Gammon Field.
Rizzo took command from Marine Col. George Markert, who has been in command since 2016.
In his farewell remarks, Markert talked about what Fort Leonard Wood meant to him.
“This is the strongest community I think I’ve ever seen in the DoD, and I say that with no reservation,” he said. “During my first change of command, I mentioned three things: Army, Marines and community. Little did I know that that literally would characterize our entire time here.”
Markert said he believes the detachment has made a massive impact on the Marine Corps’ ability to succeed in combat during his time in command.
Marine Brig. Gen. Calvert Worth, commanding general of the Marine Corps Training Command, praised Markert’s dedication to the detachment and the Corps.
“George’s example, his efforts here aboard Marine Corps Detachment Fort Leonard Wood, are renowned,” Worth said. “You set the standard of how to dedicate and commit technically, tactically and professionally to what it is you’ve been tasked to teach and train in these military occupational specialties.”
He then addressed Rizzo.
“Col. Ralph Rizzo, as you come aboard, understand the complexity of the mission,” Worth said. “It’s a complex mission, and it’s also one that not only requires your technical expertise but it requires all the nuance of an officer with your time and experience, because you must manage the relationships that exist here, you must carry them forward on behalf of the Marine Corps and on behalf of the nation.”
Rizzo expressed his gratitude to Markert for a smooth transition and assured Worth he is up to the job.
“For the next two years, every decision I make, every move I institute, will be with those colors, this unit and these Marines at heart,” he said.
Worth commended the installation and the detachment on its partnership.
“Here we are, a Marine Corps Detachment aboard an Army installation, with an Army band playing a Marine Corps change of command,” he said. “I think it’s fantastic and is representative of today’s joint force. It’s representative of the challenges that face us internationally and the threats that are real on a day-to-day basis. The reality is, as much as we have pride in our uniform as Marines, we simply cannot do it alone.”
He added, “The installation here, our partnership with our U.S. Army brothers and sisters, is real, and it’s something that not only exists here in a training environment, but is real in combat in the execution of the defense of the nation. The young Marines who come here and fall in the charge of the Marine Corps Detachment are blessed with those who are truly invested in their best interest and truly available in their development as Marines.”