MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (July 8, 2005) -- Colonel Bradford G. Washabaugh of Pittsburgh, relinquished his command of School of Infantry (East) to Col. David L. Close, during a change of command ceremony at Camp Geiger July 7.
Directly following the change of command ceremony, Washabaugh received his last set of Marine Corps orders – his orders to retirement.
“I’m very sad to be saying goodbye to SOI and all the great people here,” said Washabaugh, “but I’m very glad to know Colonel Close will be taking my place, because even after the brief conversations we’ve had, I feel he will be a great leader and an excellent commander.”
Washabaugh began his post-secondary education career at Clarion State College in Clarion, Pa., where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree. After graduating, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1976.
He attended the Basic School, Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Quantico, Va., completing the course with honors, in 1977.
His complete official Marine Corps education includes the Marine Corps Amphibious Warfare School in 1985, the Marine Corps Command and Staff College and School of Advanced Warfighting in 1993 and the Armed Forces Command and Staff College in 1994.
At Marine Forces, Europe, his last duty station, he held the position of assistant chief of staff for plans.
Washabaugh enjoyed his six years serving as the SOI commander because he believed it was the most vital command in the Marine Corps.
“I truly believe this place is the most important place in the Marine Corps,” said Washabaugh. “Every Marine learns what they need to know about combat. Success on the battlefield begins here – at SOI.”
Many members of his staff, and friends he’s made in the Marine Corps, had nothing but good things to say to support his history of hard work.
“I consider Camp Geiger hallowed ground,” said Brig. Gen. Melvin Spiese of Training Education Command, Quantico, Va. “SOI is a very special tool, and Colonel Washabaugh has performed magnificently with all the responsibilities.”
Washabaugh’s awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and the Navy/Marine Corps Parachutist Insignia.
He, his wife, Linda, and their two children, Brooke and Brandon, are currently in transit to Raleigh, N.C., where Washabaugh will begin his civilian career.
Although Washabaugh will retire to the civilian sector, Close will be checking in to take his place.
Close, who last served as the assistant chief of staff G-3 with 3rd Marine Division, holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Texas A&M University and was commissioned in 1982 via the NROTC Program.
“I look forward to coming aboard and making a difference,” said Close. “The Marines here at SOI really inspire me, and I stand in awe at what you make look simple.”
Close’s awards and decorations include two Armed Forces Meritorious Service Medals, two Meritorious Service Medals, and three Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, the Navy/Marine Corps Parachutist Insignia and the Marine Diver Insignia.
He is married to Cathy, and they have a daughter, Jessica, and two sons, Sean and Cameron.