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Sgt. Maj. Todd Parisi, outgoing director of the Staff Noncommissioned Officer Academy, salutes the Marine instructors and students of the SNCOA for the last time before relinquishing command to Sgt. Maj. Timothy Weber during the change of command ceremony at the academy aboard Camp Johnson, May 24.

Photo by Cpl. Jonathan G. Wright

Parisi relinquishes command of Staff Noncommissioned Officer Academy

24 May 2011 | Cpl. Jonathan G. Wright

Made popular by the Zack Snyder movie “300,” the exploits of the ancient Greek Spartans were brought to the public’s eye, spreading like wildfire as the strength and honor among those warriors faceted as a visual adrenaline boost for the watcher. Since then, the analogy of pure strength and motivation is that someone is dubbed a Spartan, and one such man, a Spartan who “puts the boom in shaka laka,” passes helm to another such warrior in his stead.

In a ceremony held at the Staff Noncommissioned Officer Academy aboard Camp Johnson, Sgt. Maj. Todd Parisi relinquished command as director of the SNCOA to Sgt. Maj. Timothy Weber, May 24.

“His spirit and enthusiasm changed things here (at the SNCOA) for the better,” said Gunnery Sgt. Hector Vicente, staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge for Sergeants’ Course at the academy. “We’re all going to miss him.”

With a reputation to “pound bones into small things and smaller things into dust,” Parisi has spent the last two and a half years overseeing thousands of corporals through gunnery sergeants bettering themselves personally and professionally, bringing the utmost level of dedication to his position as possible.

“This is a very, very emotional day for me, but with me or without me, this machine known as the Staff Noncommissioned Officer Academy will keep rolling,” said Parisi. “I just want to remind you all that it’s not about us – it’s about those who look to us for leadership. Use this event as a time to reflect on that.”

The guest speaker for the event, Sgt. Maj. William Skiles, sergeant major of the Marine Corps University, spoke about the academy’s importance in today’s foreign conflicts as well as making a difference in those who instruct and attend the academy.

“The point isn’t to be in charge of the academy, but to leave a significant impression here as well as on the Marines,” said Skiles. “(Parisi) has done this, and there is no doubt in my mind that Sgt. Maj. Weber will do the same.”

Skiles also spoke to the Marine staff and students in attendance, thanking them for voluntarily taking on the responsibility of attending the academy.

Weber, entering the Corps as a landing support specialist for 2nd Landing Support Battalion, 2nd Force Service Support Group (now Marine Logistics Group), and making his way up to being the battalion sergeant major of 8th Communications Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, spoke on the importance of the position he has been called upon to fill and the honor it has given him.

“Education is one of the most important things we as Marines can strive to get,” said Weber. “The times of the dumb grunt following only the officer’s words are gone. They now know what is expected of them and what to do from there. For that, I will do my part to help write the next chapter in the SNCOA book and do everything in my power to get you what you need.”

As the colors were passed from outgoing to incoming, Parisi’s eyes spoke of heavy emotion, but not regret. As he now steps further down the path of his Marine Corps career as sergeant major for the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, he can be assured that another Marine with his knowledge and zeal will hold the SNCOA to the high standard it is known for.

“The last thing I want to leave you all with is what leadership boils down to,” said Parisi. “The most important thing in leadership is if people know you care, they will run through hell, gargle napalm and backflip into concertina wire with a smile – because they know you care.”