Photo Information

Sgt. Maj. Robert G. VanOostrom, senior enlisted Marine for II Marine Expeditionary Force, delivers the II MEF unit colors to Lt. Gen. John M. Paxton Jr. (center), who will pass the colors to Maj. Gen. Raymond C. Fox (left), representing the transfer of command, during the II MEF change of command ceremony aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., July 13.

Photo by 2nd Lieutenant Philip Kulczewski

II MEF Changes Hands

13 Jul 2012 | Cpl. Bryan Nygaard

Lieutenant Gen. John M. Paxton Jr. transferred authority of II Marine Expeditionary Force to Maj. Gen. Raymond C. Fox during a ceremony in front of the MEF Headquarters building aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., July 13.

Assembled on the parade ground in front of the MEF Headquarters building were 7 platoons of Marines and sailors under arms representing nearly 60,000 warfighters who encompass the Marine Air, Ground Task Force of II MEF.

More than 300 friends, family and military personnel were in attendance including Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, and Lt. Gen. Dennis J. Hejlik, commanding general of Marine Corps Forces Command.

Paxton assumed command of II MEF in January 2011 following his tour as the Director of Operations for the Joint Staff in the Pentagon. During his tenure, Paxton guided II MEF as it conducted combat operations in Afghanistan as well as supporting multi-national efforts in Libya as a part of Operation Unified Protector and Odyssey Dawn. II MEF was also the key force provider for Exercise Bold Alligator, which revitalized the employment of amphibious tactics through the combined efforts of Navy and Marine Corps operations from the sea. Paxton will now assume command of Marine Corps Forces Command.

Paxton thanked the Marines and sailors he has lead for the past 16 months as well as the community surrounding Camp Lejeune.

“When I took the helm, I promised you what Lewis B. Puller used to say, ‘You owe your Marines four things: your courage, your candor, your compassion and your commitment.’” said Paxton. “There’s not a doubt in my mind that you (pointing to the Marines and sailors in formation) have given that each and every day, individually and collectively. It’s been my honor and privilege to watch you do that."

Paxton’s replacement, Fox, recently served as the commanding general at Training and Education Command at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.