CAMP COURTNEY, OKINAWA, Japan --
Brigadier Gen. John M. Jansen accepted responsibility from Brig. Gen. Paul J. Kennedy as the commanding general of 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade during a change of command ceremony Dec. 7 at Camp Courtney.
Kennedy commanded 3d MEB since June 2013 and led the unit through several training exercises and operations. The unit participated in exercises Ssang Yong in Republic of Korea and Talisman Sabre 15 in Australia, disaster responses in the Philippines to assist with recovery following damages caused by typhoon Haiyan during Operation Damayan and Operation Sahayogi Haat in Nepal.
“The true heroes of this island and what happens in the Asia Pacific are hard at work today,” said Kennedy from Bloomfield, Connecticut. “Over the last 30 months these Marines have performed magnificently. Even as we are taking leave and there are holidays, the MEB is standing as an air contingency MAGTAF to be ready for Gen. Nicholson should he get a call from Pacific Command to respond to a crisis.”
During Operation Damayan, 3d MEB responded to typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines within hours, flying more than 900 air missions with 2,000 tons of relief supplies and evacuating more than 20,000 victims in November 2013.
“Whether it’s in the Philippines, whether it’s in Nepal, whether it’s around the world, this MEB has been the first responder for our corps, through some of the most tumultuous days here in the Pacific in the last 24 months,” said Lt. Gen. Larry Nicholson, the commanding general of III Marine Expeditionary Force. “For the brilliant performance of Gen. Kennedy here, the great work his team has done, we are going to reward him by giving him the job of Marine Corps Recruiting Command commanding general.”
In April, Kennedy led a 20-person Joint Humanitarian Assistance Survey Team (JHAST) to support relief efforts in central Nepal after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck the country on April 2. As the devastation and needs were realized, 3d MEB was designated as Joint Task Force 505 Forward and assumed control of the joint force. JTF 505, during Operation Sahayogi Haat, accessed hard-hit areas and quickly delivered critical emergency supplies.
JTF 505, in coordination with the government of Nepal and U.S. Agency for International Development, delivered approximately 120.2 tons of emergency relief supplies, to include plastic sheeting, shelter kits, blankets, water, medical supplies, and emergency and supplemental food. In addition to delivering aid, JTF 505 transported 553 personnel and conducted 69 casualty evacuations.
Six Marines lost their lives during an aircraft mishap while delivering supplies in support of JTF 505 on May 12.
“We did some live rescues with the Los Angeles search and rescue team and in the course of those operations is when this helicopter went missing,” said Kennedy. “They were delivering supplies out to a fairly remote region in the Dolakha district, so they went to a city called Charikot, very small town, and that’s the last known contact we had.”
At the key moment in the change of command ceremony, Kennedy passed the flag to Jansen symbolizing the passing of responsibility of commanding the Marines of 3d MEB.
“This formation is an accountability formation, it serves like my fifth general order ‘we have walked our post until properly relieved’ and John Jansen is my relief,” said Kennedy.
Jansen was previously the assistant deputy commandant for Programs and Resources for Headquarters Marine Corps.
“I look forward to the camaraderie built in service through this very serious and seriously threatening adventure that we all live and love,” said Jansen from Marion, Indiana. “I’m ready to go.”
3d MEB is a forward presence in the Pacific Theater able to deploy rapidly by any and all means. They are capable of operations from humanitarian assistance and disaster reliefs to high intensity amphibious assaults.
“We know what we are going to continue to do,” said Jansen. “Humanitarian and disaster relief operations, the focus will remain on that. Be ready for joint forcible entry operations at the high end, taking all that 3d MED had done to advance amphibious capabilities. We are looking to stabilize the region by way of security … by way of pressure.”