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III MEF Feature Stories
Photo Information

U.S. Marines conduct a pass and review during a relief and appointment ceremony on Marine Corps Base Camp Butler, March 7, 2023. Sgt. Maj. Eric D. Cook relinquished his duties as sergeant major of III Marine Expeditionary Force, and sergeant major of Marine Forces Japan to Sgt. Maj. Joy M. Kitashima. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Diana Jimenez)

Photo by Cpl. Diana Jimenez

III MEF Sergeant Major Relief and Appointment

7 Mar 2023 | Lance Cpl. Tyler Andrews III Marine Expeditionary Force


Service members, civilians and their families attended and participated in the III Marine Expeditionary Force and Marine Corps Forces Japan relief and appointment ceremony at Marine Corps Base Camp Courtney, Okinawa, Japan, March 7, 2023.


U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Eric D. Cook, the outgoing sergeant major of III MEF and MARFORJ, relinquished his duties at the relief and appointment ceremony.  Cook will move up to serve as the senior enlisted Marine in the U.S. Indo-Pacific theatre of operation as the next sergeant major of U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific.


Cook passed the sword of office to U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Joy M. Kitashima, the incoming sergeant major of III MEF and MARFORJ.  Kitashima is the first female force-level sergeant major in the Marine Corps and will serve as the senior enlisted advisor to Lt. Gen. James Bierman Jr., the commanding general of III MEF and MARFORJ.


As Kitashima starts her third tour on Okinawa, and second as a sergeant major, she said she is honored and grateful to serve with the Marines, Sailors, civilians and families of III MEF and MARFORJ.

III Marine Expeditionary Force