MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Under a bright yet overcast Carolina sky, ceremonial platoons representing Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Marine Corps Air Station New River and other factions under the Marine Corps Installations East banner gathered for a change of command ceremony which transferred leadership over East Coast Marine bases and stations.
Maj. Gen. Carl B. Jensen, commanding general of MCIEAST, relinquished his position to Col. Thomas A. Gorry, brigadier general select, in front of family, friends and fellow Marines at the 2nd Marine Logistics Group Amphitheater aboard MCB Camp Lejeune, July 22.
“(Gorry)’s reputation is superb and he will take good care of the bases and Marines now under his charge,” said Gen. James F. Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, who attended the ceremony. “As for (Jensen), he has done what we all tell young Marine officers to do. Here, you have put your fingerprints on all of the projects that have made (these installations) change for the better, but for everything you have done throughout your career, we thank you for being faithful right to the very end.”
Jensen, who has been the CG for MCIEAST since July 30, 2008, came into his position after serving as deputy commander and chief of staff for U.S. Marine Forces Command in Norfolk, Va. After graduating The Basic School, Jensen entered flight training to become a naval aviator in 1977, and for the past 36 years faithfully served his country and Marine Corps around the world with multiple deployments in support of Operations Desert Shield and Storm, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
“It has been my singular pleasure and pride to be a U.S. Marine, and having retired after overseeing MCIEAST,” said Jensen, holding back a few tears. “I am not all that excited to be leaving, but it’s time for me to turn this over. There is one thing I would like to say on the way out the door, and that is I have been, am now and forever shall be a U.S. Marine. Semper Fidelis.”
Under Jensen’s command, MCIEAST has undergone various radical changes, both aboard MCB Camp Lejeune and the other installations from Marine Corps Air Facility Quantico, Va. down to Marine Corps Support Facility Blount Island in Jacksonville, Fla. He has overseen more than 135 military construction projects valued at more than $3 billion, as well as a $300 million regional energy plan that featured the landfill-gas-to-energy project aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Ga. and the installation of solar and thermal panels on housing units aboard MCB Camp Lejeune.
During the retirement portion of the ceremony, Jensen was awarded a Distinguished Service Medal, certificates of appreciation from the President Barack Obama and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, and the Order of the Longleaf Pine from Bev Perdue, governor of North Carolina, making Jensen an “ambassador extraordinary” of North Carolina.
“We served together for two of the three years I was here, and I couldn’t have asked for a better neighbor,” said Lt. Gen. Dennis J. Hejlik, commanding general of Fleet Marine Forces Atlantic; Marine Corps Bases Atlantic and United States Marine Corps Forces Command, of Jensen when he served as CG of II Marine Expeditionary Force. “He has compassion and a sincere appreciation for all the Marines under his command, and since his first assignment as a ground safety officer (with Marine Light Helicopter Squadron 167, Marine Aircraft Group 29, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing), he has continuously stood out among his peers.”
Gorry, who comes into the position as commander of MCIEAST, holds four college degrees with a distinguished Marine Corps career that began in 1986 as a ground supply officer with Brigade Service Support Group 1, 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade. Gorry comes to MCB Camp Lejeune following his previous assignment as the director of the Command and Staff College, Marine Corps University.
“I am honored to take command of such a prestigious position following Maj. Gen. Jensen,” said Gorry. “I am excited to lead you all and will ensure the highest levels of support are given to the various tenant commands aboard the base.”
Following the speeches, the past and current commanders of MCIEAST were invited to stand next to Gorry for a pass and review of the troops. Jensen and Gorry were joined by retired Maj. Gen. Robert C. Dickerson, first CG of MCIEAST from 2005 through 2008. Col. Daniel J. Lecce, commanding officer of MCB Camp Lejeune, led his troops representing MCB Camp Lejeune past the three with Col. Jeffrey M. Hewlett, commanding officer of MCAS New River, following with Marines from the air station.
With the evening’s ceremony concluded, Jensen readies himself to return to the private sector in Alexandria, Va. as Gorry steps up to take custody of installation support for more than 232,000 military, federal employees and family members along the East Coast. Though Jensen is leaving the main gate of MCB Camp Lejeune for the last time as an active-duty Marine, he plans to retire in the spirit of his service as MCIEAST continues with a new leader.