Photo Information

Sergeant Major William T. Sowers receives a Marine non-commissioned officer’s sword as he takes over the role of 1st Marine Division Sergeant Major during a relief and appointment ceremony aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., June 12, 2015. Sowers most recently served as the sergeant major for the Marine Corps Training and Education Command in Quantico, Va.

Photo by Cpl. William Perkins

1st MARDIV welcomes Sgt. Maj. Sowers

16 Jun 2015 | Lance Cpl. Caitlin Bevel 1st Marine Division

After two years, Sgt. Maj. David L. Jobe passed the position of 1st Marine Division Sergeant Major to Sgt. Maj. William T. Sowers during a relief and appointment ceremony aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., June 12, 2015.

The ceremony reflected Marine Corps traditions such as drill and rifle manual, and concluded with a pass in review to reflect the rich history of 1st Marine Division.

During the ceremony, Maj. Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson, the commanding general of 1st Marine Division, talked about the significance of sergeants major in the Marine Corps and within the division.

“According to the Marine Corps order we could have 12 or 13 sergeants major…we have one,” said Nicholson. “When you hear the term "sergeant major" it is synonymous with excellence. When you’re a young NCO or officer and you don’t know something you ask the gunny. When you become a field grade officer you ask the sergeant major.”

Nicholson said that Jobe served a unique role in the division and in his life and provided support above and beyond what is expected of a sergeant major.

“They say the sergeant major should be your advisor, I didn’t need an advisor. I needed a confidant. I needed someone who I could implicitly trust,” said Nicholson, addressing Jobe. “For the last two years there has not been a principle decision made in this division that you have not been involved in.”

After describing the excellent work of Jobe during his time with the division, Nicholson drew several parallels between he and Sowers. He explained that both came into the Marine Corps in 1988, both became grunts, both were in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and both were among the first Marines in combat after the attacks on September 11.

“We have two magnificent leaders with us today,” said Nicholson. “We’ve got a lot of great Marines in this division, but it’s a very rare Marine whose very presence makes everyone else better. Both of you fit that description. We are, and will continue to be, better because of the sergeant major we have leaving this great division.”

After thanking the Marines and everyone whose support makes 1st Marine Division the unique and powerful force that it is, Jobe explained how things have changed over the past few years.

“I remember when this country first went to war,” said Jobe. “You couldn’t buy a flag on September 12th because everybody had one flying, but it didn’t take long for that flag to come down and now it’s hard to find a flag flying.”

Jobe said that he is proud to have served in the Blue Diamond because while many people’s support has waned, those who fight with and support the 1st Marine Division still give their all every day.

Jobe also expressed his confidence in Sowers and the future of the division.

“It’s been an honor to be part of this team…You are getting a phenomenal division, they picked the right guy,” said Jobe. “You are just going to kick the boat anchor out of the way and take it forward. Good luck, brother.”

Sowers is returning to 1st MARDIV where he served as the battalion sergeant major for 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. His history with the division has given him a special appreciation for his new position.

“I’ve seen the caliber of sergeants major who have served here the last few years and I count it as a privilege to be amongst those individuals,” said Sowers.

He also expressed his appreciation for the chance to learn, grow and lead with the division.

“Sergeant Major Jobe, thank you so much for the turnover you’ve given me,” said Sowers. “You have lit the path for me to follow and I have some big shoes to fill. I look forward to the opportunity and the challenge set before me here at 1st Marine Division.”

1st Marine Division currently has about one third of its forces deployed, one third preparing for deployment and the remainder having just returned. The division remains ready, relevant and responsive to any threat under the leadership of their new sergeant major.

1st Marine Division