CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Sgt. Maj. Juan M. Hidalgo Jr., outgoing 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit sergeant major, displayed a sort of nostalgic hesitation when he handed over the noncommissioned officer’s sword to Col. Christopher D. Taylor, 13th MEU commanding officer.
Later on as Hidalgo addressed the crowd, he told fellow Marines, friends and family that he was confident in oncoming leadership and wished him luck.
Hidalgo relinquished command as the sergeant major of 13th MEU to Sgt. Maj. William S. Slade during a relief and appointment ceremony at Camp Pendleton, Calif., March 15.
“These Marines are out here making it happen,” Hidalgo said. “As you saw, I didn’t want to give that sword up. I wanted to take that thing with me.”
Hidalgo also served almost 30 years in the Marine Corps and assumed his duties and responsibilities as sergeant major of 13th MEU March 15, 2010. Before that, Hidalgo deployed twice with 11th MEU where he served as company gunnery sergeant and first sergeant, Headquarters and Service Company.
He deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in January 2003 and again in January 2007 with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 169.
Slade brings to the unit more than 25 years of dedicated military experience and leadership to include two Mediterranean deployments with 2nd Supply Battalion, MEU Service Support Group 24, and Command Element, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
Slade also served with the 31st Expeditionary Unit and deployed to Iraq with Headquarters Service Company in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
He joins the 13th MEU having served as sergeant major of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Training Squadron 303, November 2010 to December 2011, and squadron sergeant major of Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 39, Marine Aircraft Group 39.
Sgt. Maj. Slade said he looks forward to serving as a senior enlisted adviser to the commanding officer.
“I’m eager to get started,” he said.