MARINE CORPS BASE TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- Second Battalion, 7th Marines received a new sergeant major May 27 in a retirement and post and relief ceremony on the commanding general’s parade deck.
Sergeant Major David L. Plaster, a 23-year Corps veteran turned over his post to Sgt. Maj. Michael L. Barrett, a Niagara Falls, N.Y., native.
Plaster had been the battalion sergeant major since August 2003. Previously, he served with Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 2, Marine Aircraft Group 14, 2nd Marine Air Wing at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C.
During his time there he served with the “Death Jesters” and deployed as part of the Unit Deployment Program to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan and later to Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in support of Operations “Southern Watch” and “Iraqi Freedom.”
“Beautiful Marines,” said Plaster as he addressed the battalion, “I grew up in the Marine Corps believing in one major thing–duty. A person does their duty because it’s the right thing not because he may personally feel right about what is happening at the time. It may not be what he wants to do. It might be very uncomfortable at the time, but it’s the right thing to do in order to preserve the lives of these fine young men out here and to preserve Americans. That’s why we do our duty.”
Barrett joins the battalion after a tour as the sergeant major of Recruiting Station Cleveland, Ohio.
“Sergeant Maj. Barrett and I go back a little bit,” said Lt. Col. Joseph A. Letoile, battalion commander, 2/7. “I think I’ve known the sergeant major for about 18 years. We started out with 3/9 and served in Desert Storm. We kind of bumped into each other here and there throughout our journey in the Marine Corps.”
“To the Marines of 2/7 let me tell you something. Sgt. Maj. Barrett is one of our Corp’s best Marines. He’s going make each and every one of us better, including your battalion commander. I’m excited about our time together. We’re ready to march, Col. Tucker,” added Letoile, as he addressed the 7th Marine Regiment commander.
Barrett, a 23-year veteran anxiously joins the battalion.
“If I was asked today what I needed I’d tell you we have everything we need,” said Barrett. “I would ask you to look to the front to the warrior defenders of 2/7. I’d say we have everything we need. Lt. Col. Letoile: I look forward to our success, and I look forward to our hardship.”
Plaster found it difficult to say goodbye to his Marines but left knowing he’d take their friendship with him.
“We’ve spent a lot of time together over the past 22 months in this battalion, and I’ve come to know every one of these Marines in a personal way,” said Plaster.
“As I told them this morning I made a lot of personal friends in this battalion many of which are welcome at my doorstep at any given time to have a place to sleep, food to eat, cold beer to drink or a cup of coffee if that’s what they need. The rest of those Marines out there I consider my sons. If at any given time you come to the hills of Carolina, don’t mind the long hair and the Harley Davidson you’ll see me on at the time. Knock on the door. You’re welcome to come in 2/7. God bless you. Go forward to do good things and protect this country.”