Cochran assumes H&S Bn sword of office

5 Feb 2015 | Pfc. Ned Johnson Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune

Marines with Headquarters and Support Battalion welcomed Sgt. Maj. Veney Cochran to the battalion and honored Sgt. Maj Toshia Sundermier during a relief and appointment ceremony at Marston Pavilion aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune Jan. 28. 

“Sgt. Maj. Cochran comes here with a wonderful reputation and an impressive resume,” said Col. Eric J. Eldred, commanding officer of HQSPT Bn. “I know you are chomping at the bit to take over this battalion, but I have two requirements for you. 

“The first is to take care of the Marines and civilian Marines of this battalion, and then take care of the battalion commander. And to do both of those, you only need to do one of those.”

Cochran, who was previously the sergeant major for the Marine Corps Engineer School, enlisted in 1986 and displayed enthusiasm to return to the unit where he was originally promoted to sergeant major. 

“It’s an honor and privilege to be here,” Cochran said. “To the Marines, I’ll get out to see you all, and I’m looking forward to it.”
After Cochran took his new post beside Eldred, Sundermier retired after 25 years of service.

Sundermier, originally a motor transport mechanic, served as three different logistical military occupational specialties, a drill instructor and a Staff Noncommissioned Officer Academy instructor before serving several tours as a first sergeant and sergeant major. 

“There are two things that impressed me the most about Sgt. Maj. Sundermier,” Eldred said. “The first is her caring, compassionate leadership, and the second is her dedication, drive, energy and motivation. She’s like the Energizer bunny.”

Sundermier thanked the many Marines and family members who supported and mentored her throughout her career, but her final words were to the Marines of HQSPT Bn.

“It’s amazing — the long hours they work, and gates they stand in the cold weather— they really care about what they do every day,” Sundermier said. “I really appreciate everything you’ve done and it’s been an honor to be your sergeant major.”