MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Sergeant Maj. Benjamin Pangborn took over as sergeant major of Wounded Warrior Battalion East in a post and relief ceremony here Jan. 21.
Sergeant Maj. Joel Collins, the outgoing sergeant major, moves across the street to take over the senior enlisted billet at 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, also headquartered here.
“Due to his (Collins’) diligence and hard work, we developed the structure and unit cohesion we have here now,” said Lt. Col. Nicholas Davis, the battalion commander. “Before he got here, we had wounded, ill and injured taking care of wounded ill and injured. Through his initiative, he helped build an effective team with reservists, active duty Marines and contractors. And the structure he built continues to serve hundreds of Wounded Warriors here at Lejeune and across our eight detachments.
An infantryman by trade, Collins has served in a variety of billets during his 20 years in the Corps, to include: platoon sergeant, drill instructor, platoon sergeant at Marine Officer Candidate School, and as a rifle company first sergeant.
“He (Collins) gleaned three years of experience during a critical time in this battalion’s evolution and passed it on to other staff members, both officers and staff non-commissioned officers, as well as our civilian staff,” explained Davis. “He interacted with non-profits and veterans organizations to garner support for the wounded, ill and injured. Moreover, he was always engaged with families; frequently in the most difficult of circumstances. Sergeant Major Collins was definitely a force multiplier here.”
Pangborn comes to Wounded Warriors from Okinawa, Japan, where he was sergeant major of Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, for about three years.
“I volunteered for the position of battalion sergeant major because I felt that this was a very unique opportunity for both my family and me. I am humbled and honored to be here at (Wounded Warrior Battalion East),” said Pangborn.
A native of Buffalo, N.Y., Pangborn has served for nearly a quarter century in the Marine Corps, with billets ranging from the company gunny with 2nd Marine Regiment to Marine Security Guard duty in North Africa and South America. He has three combat deployments to Iraq.
“My previous experiences as a company first sergeant with Marine Wing Communication Squadron and as the squadron sergeant major have prepared me well for this job,” said Pangborn. “It has laid the foundation for me to talk to the families of the wounded, ill, and injured and has also given me the knowledge of the many programs that the Corps has to offer its Marines and families…. The biggest challenge that I feel I will face is getting to know each Marine, as well as each family, and figuring out how I can help with their individual situation.”