TRIANGLE, Va. (Jan. 23, 2012) --
Marines and sailors assigned to the Wounded Warrior Regiment gathered at the National Museum of the Marine Corps for a relief and appointment ceremony here Jan. 23.
Sgt. Maj. John Ploskonka relinquished his duties as regimental sergeant major to Sgt. Maj. Joseph VanFonda during the event. Over 100 wounded, ill and injured Marines who are supported by the WWR watched as the regiment’s senior enlisted advisor ceremoniously passed on his duties. Guests at the ceremony included Gen. James F. Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, and Sgt. Maj. Michael P. Barrett, sergeant major of the Marine Corps.
Ploskonka served as the sergeant major since April 2010. He played a pivotal role in the development of the regiment’s lines of operation, mental health and resilience resources, and many other programs. Ploskonka has made it a priority to provide support and leadership to wounded, ill and injured Marines nationwide. He will move on to serve as the sergeant major for Marine Corps Installations Command, Arlington, Va.
Col. John L. Mayer, commanding officer of the WWR, said there are three things about Ploskonka he appreciates the most, “Passion for all things Marine, in everything he does and in his love for life. He is a straight shooter who gives good advice and truth that you can take with you. He always sets the example in all he does, physically, mentally and spiritually. He sees the bright side in everything.”
Mayer continued, “I cannot think of a person who would be a finer example or be a better friend, or better steward of our wounded warriors. It is an honor for me to say that he was my sergeant major and that he is a friend.”
Mayer then directed his comments to the incoming sergeant major, “I’d like to welcome Sgt. Maj. VanFonda, who volunteered for what he knew would be an arduous duty where he would put in more hours than imaginable. Welcome aboard Sgt. Maj. VanFonda, we are happy you are with us.”
Mayer then passed the floor to VanFonda, who was hand selected through a competitive process to serve the WWR. He previously served as the sergeant major for Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 29, Marine Corps Air Station New River, Jacksonville, N.C.
VanFonda explained he plans to use the recovery process from his own combat wounds to help him improve processes and procedures. “I pledge to all of you, 24-hours, seven days a week, to take care of our wounded, ill and injured Marines,” said VanFonda.