Marines

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Sgt. Maj. Mark M. Geletko and Sgt. Maj. Harrison L. Tanksley walk side by side after the battalion inspection during their relief and appointment ceremony April 7.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Regina N. Ortiz

3/4 welcomes new sergeant major, bids farewell to admired leader

7 Apr 2006 | Lance Cpl. Regina N. Ortiz

The Marines and Sailors of 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, bid farewell to Sgt. Maj. Harrison L. Tanksley, and welcomed aboard their new battalion sergeant major, Sgt. Maj. Mark M. Geletko, in a relief and appointment ceremony at the Combat Center’s Commanding General’s Parade Field March 7.Tanksley served as 3/4’s battalion sergeant major for more than a year and four months and deployed with the battalion in January 2005 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.Tanksley, a Warm Springs, Ga., native, graduated boot camp from Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., in September 1981. He has served at more than 14 commands and deployed six times, including two deployments in support of OIF. Early in his career, Tanksley was meritoriously promoted to the rank of sergeant. Other billets he has had in his career include drill instructor and Marine security guard, protecting three different American embassies and consulates in various countries. He was frocked as a first sergeant in July 2001.He will continue his career as the sergeant major of Manpower Management Support Branch, Headquarters Marine Corps, Quantico, Va.“Three-four has the finest young men I’ve ever served with,” said Tanksley. “They’ll do everything and anything for you and accomplish any assigned task.“I want to thank the Marines for their hard work, dedication to the Corps, their country and this battalion,” he continued.Tanksley enjoyed his tour with the Marines and Sailors of 3/4, and wishes the best for the battalion and their new sergeant major, he said.“I wish Sgt. Maj. Geletko a successful tour with 3/4,” said Tanksley. “Take care of these men, and they’ll take care of you.”Geletko was serving as the Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School first sergeant when he was promoted to sergeant major and received orders to serve as the 3/4 battalion sergeant major. He served as the MCCES first sergeant for more than one year.Geletko, a Pittsburgh native, graduated boot camp from MCRD Parris Island, in January 1985. He went on to train in his primary military occupational specialty as a military policeman. He was meritoriously promoted to corporal in 1987. Other billets Geletko has filled include primary marksmanship instructor, drill instructor and platoon sergeant, company gunnery sergeant and first sergeant at Officer Candidates School. Geletko has served at more than nine different commands and has been on four deployments throughout his career in the Marine Corps. As the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Fox Company first sergeant, Geletko deployed to the Republic of the Philippines in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in May 2003 and to Iraq in support of OIF in February 2004.Geletko and Tanksley have been friends for the past five years, crossing paths at the Combat Center, said Geletko.“Sgt. Maj. Tanksley left me a good basis to start on,” he explained. “He made it easy for me.”With more than 21 years in the Marine Corps, Geletko has developed his leadership style, sticking with what works.“I like to be amongst the Marines,” he said. “I like to pop-in on my first sergeants and the Marines to see how everything is going. I want to know my Marines, be able to put names to faces. “I think it is very important to know your Marines,” he continued. “If you know who they are, how they are, you can successfully lead them.”Although Geletko started his career as a military policeman, he is familiar with leading and working with infantrymen, he said.“I can identify with these Marines,” said Geletko.He is proud to be part of 3/4 Thunder, he said.“I’ll do everything I can for them,” he said in regards to the Marines and Sailors of his new home.
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