MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Marines of Headquarters and Support Battalion welcomed their new commanding officer and bid farewell to their leader of the last two years in a change of command ceremony, June 21.
Lt. Col. David G. Bardorf relinquished command to Lt. Col. Harry L. Gardner in a sharply coordinated and executed ceremony at the seaside amphitheater behind the 2nd Marine Logistic Group headquarters.
Bardorf joined the battalion May 2011, and led Marines from a wide variety of work sections that comprise Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune’s day-to-day operations. Headquarters Support Battalion’s Marines handle the installation’s law enforcement, legal system, postal service, range control, Marine lifeguards at Onslow Beach, the All-Marine Wrestling Team and the Installation Personnel Administration Center, among a host of other sections.
Bardorf is a former enlisted rifleman who earned his commission in 1992 through the Enlisted Commissioning Program. He has served with 2nd Marine Division’s 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, 1st Tank Battalion and 2nd Tank Battalion. He served with Headquarters Marine Corps and as an instructor at the Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Va. Bardorf deployed numerous times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Bardorf’s best memories with Headquarters and Support Battalion include the times he spent talking with his Marines, leading them in physical training formations and commending individuals for work well done by presenting those who earned them with medals and through meritorious promotions.
During monthly physical training, Bardorf enjoyed singing cadences and seeing the motivation in his Marines eyes, he said.
Bardorf created a monthly completion where Marines from each company compete for the Commanders Cup Challenge. Challenges included grappling tournaments, swim meets, kayak soccer and obstacle courses along with other physical activities.
“Nothing builds camaraderie better than competition,” said Bardorf.
Bardorf heads to the Marine Corps War College for a year of training. He looks forward to leading Marines again in the future.
“It doesn’t get any better than serving Marines,” said Bardorf.
Bardof’s successor, Gardner, initially a reservist, joined the Marine Corps in 1987. He served with 4th Supply battalion and 4th Light Armored Vehicle Battalion with 4th Marine Division. Gardner deployed during Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. He received a purple heart for wounds received in action.
Gardner attended the U.S. Naval Academy and was commissioned in May of 1995. He served as the counter drug officer with the Special Warfare Division at Quantico, Va. He then served as an adjutant with Camp Johnson, Marine Wing Support Group 27, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Marine Barracks Washington, D.C. He also served with the White House as a social aide.
Since then, he served with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, where he deployed during Operation Enduring Freedom.
Gardner said he looks forward to leading Headquarter and Support Battalion, increase support to the local community and increase the quality of life for the battalion’s Marines.
“Marines, this is going to be a great ride,” said Gardner. “I hope you’re ready.”