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Lt. Gen. H. Stacy Clardy, III, answers questions during a press conference following the III Marine Expeditionary Force change of command ceremony at Camp Courtney, Okinawa, Japan, May 31, 2019. Lt. Gen. Eric M. Smith passed his duties as the commanding general of III MEF onto Lt. Gen. H. Stacy Clardy, III. Clardy arrived from the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness where he served as the Military Deputy.

Photo by Pfc. Francesca de la Reza

III MEF Commanding General Change of Command

31 May 2019 | Pfc. Francesca de la Reza III Marine Expeditionary Force

Lt. Gen. Eric M. Smith relinquished command of III Marine Expeditionary Force to Lt. Gen. H. Stacy Clardy, III, May 31, 2019 at Camp Courtney, Okinawa, Japan.

Prior to assuming command of III MEF, Clardy served as the Military Deputy for the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. Smith relayed his excitement for Clardy's future.

“You think I have passion?” said Smith. “Wait until you meet Stacy Clardy. You have no idea how good a deal you’re getting. For those of you in the U.S.-Japan alliance, you have no idea how fortunate you are that a veteran of Japan has come back.”

Clardy’s most recent service in Okinawa was from 2013 through 2015 as the commanding general of 3rd Marine Division. During the ceremony, Clardy expressed an optimistic outlook on his future with III MEF.

“Okinawa is a special place,” said Clardy, a Georgetown, South Carolina, native. “This is my 4th tour in Japan. I watched my children grow up here. I consider this my second home.”

III MEF provides the United States with a forward-deployed force in readiness in the Pacific theater. It is a globally responsive, expeditionary, and fully scalable Marine Air Ground Task Force, capable of employing forces for operations ranging from crisis response to major combat.

“I am humbled to be back here again,” said Clardy. “III MEF is a forward-deployed, expeditionary Marine Air-Ground Task Force, ready for any crisis and to lend a helping hand. They’ve shown that in the past and they’ll do it again tomorrow.”