Command of 2d Marine Division Set to Change Hands

25 Jun 2001 | Cpl. Mike Vrabel

A former 2d Marine Regiment commander is slated to take charge as the commanding general of 2d Marine Division July 12, relieving Maj. Gen. Robert R. Blackman, Jr.

Blackman, whose next assignment is the resources, requirements, budget and assessment director for the U.S. Central Command, will relinquish command of the "Follow Me!" Division to Maj. Gen. John F. Sattler, who recently completed a tour as the director of public affairs, Headquarters Marine Corps.

After graduating from Cornell University in 1970, Blackman was commissioned a second lieutenant. His first assignment was as a platoon commander and company executive officer for 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment in Okinawa, Japan. Following a stint as a series commander at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Blackman returned to 4th Marines in 1980, serving as the operations officer for 2d Bn.

The Essex, N.J. native reported to 2d Division for the first time in 1987, serving as the executive officer of the 8th Marine Regiment. He would later take command of 3d Bn., 8th Marines, embarking with the 22d Marine Expeditionary Unit as Battalion Landing Team 3/8.

During Operation Desert Storm, Blackman served as the operations officer for Marine Central Command in Southwest Asia. Upon returning stateside, he was named head of the current operations branch of Headquarters, Marine Corps.
In 1993, Blackman assumed command of the 15th MEU, followed by a stint as the military assistant to the Secretary of the Navy.

After completing a tour as president of the Marine Corps University, the general served as the assistant 2d Division commander. Following promotion to major general, Blackman took command of the division.

While in charge of the division, he oversaw a bevy of deployments, exercises and operations. Division troops battled wildfires in Idaho and participated in historic training on Croatian soil. However, according to the general, some of the most noteworthy accomplishments, including the initiation of the Warrior Spirit program, and the recent groundbreaking of the Company Battle Course, happened right here at Camp Lejeune.

While the division has achieved much, Blackman casts the bulk of the credit upon his warriors.

"Our Marines and sailors have laced up their boots, strapped on their gear and shouldered every task that has been placed upon them," said Blackman of the unit he affectionately refers to as heroes. "The pace here is fast and furious, placing considerable strain on our Marines and requiring flexibility, discipline and endurance at all ranks."

Blackman's personal awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with gold star in lieu of second award and the Combat Action Ribbon.

Division warriors will next follow Sattler, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. After his commission in 1972, Sattler served as a platoon commander with 2d Bn., 4th Marines. After graduating with honors from the Amphibious Warfare School and serving as a Basic School instructor, Sattler returned to 2d Bn., 4th Marines, as the battalion operations officer.

In 1991, the general served as the Congressional liaison officer to the U.S. House of Representatives. After four years there, Sattler took command of the 2d Marine Regiment. He held this billet until 1997, when he assumed duties as the assistant 2d Division commander.

Sattler became the director of public affairs in July, 2000, an assignment Sattler enjoyed immensely.

"I'm going to miss working on a day-to-day basis with such professionals," said Sattler of his public affairs Marines.

Sattler said taking charge of the division is an assignment he and his family will also enjoy.

"My wife Ginni and I are looking forward to the opportunity to serve the Marines, sailors and families of the Second Marine Division," said Sattler. "We hope to be able to fill the very large shoes of Major General Blackman and his wife."

His personal awards include the Legion of Merit with gold star in lieu of second award and the Meritorious Service Medal with gold star.