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MARINE BARRACKS WASHINGTON - Gen. Michael W. Hagee presents Gen. James T. Conway with the Marine Corps Battle Colors and relinquishes his command as Commandant of the Marine Corps Nov. 13

Photo by Sgt. Clinton Firstbrook

Conway assumes command as commandant

13 Nov 2006 | Sgt. Clinton Firstbrook

With the passing of the Marine Corps Battle Colors aboard Marine Barracks Washington Nov. 13, Gen. James T. Conway became the 34th Commandant of the Marine Corps.

After serving four years as commandant, Gen. Michael W. Hagee relinquished his command and left Conway with a few words.

“Throughout all postings and assignments I have had, the one thing I am most proud of is since 1968 I have been called a Marine,” said Hagee, a Hampton, Va., native. "Jim, Annette, we wish you the best. It’s going to go by in a heartbeat.”

During the passage of command ceremony, Conway, who was commissioned in 1970 as an infantry officer, touched on the large shoes left to fill now that his predecessor has retired.

“One of the toughest jobs as commandant has to be when you’re presenting to those hundreds and thousands of Marines,” said Conway, a Walnut Ridge, Ark., native. “You can’t be thinking about the next event or be unprepared. You’ve got to be the commandant that they want and expect to see. Gen. Hagee, you have been that man sir, so let me tell you categorically that you and Silke have represented our Corps magnificently.”

Conway also spoke on the esprit de corps inherent in all service members who are answering the nation’s call today.

“You represent an entire young generation of soldiers, sailors, airmen and other Marines who have stepped forward when your country needed you most,” said Conway. “The raw courage, the selflessness, the teamwork which is demonstrated by this generation is absolutely unbelievable. Ladies and gentlemen, I would suggest to you that our services, our Corps and our nation is in great shape for a long time to come.”

Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld announced the President had selected Conway to the grade of general and for appointment as commandant June 13. The Senate confirmed Conway’s nomination Aug. 5. Prior to his nomination, Conway served as the director of operations on the Joint Staff.

For more photos of the passage of command ceremony, visit the Commandant of the Marine Corps Photo Gallery at
Headquarters Marine Corps