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Lieutenant Col. Robert Rice, commanding officer, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, passes the noncommissioned officer sword to Sgt. Maj. Carlos Ruiz, incoming sergeant major, 3rd Bn., 5th Marines, during a relief and appointment ceremony here, Sept. 20, 2013. Relief and appointment ceremonies are one of the many traditions upheld in the Marine Corps today, which involves the passing of the noncommissioned officer sword from the outgoing sergeant major to the oncoming. The passing of the sword signifies the transfer of responsibilities and accountability from one senior enlisted Marine to another.

Photo by Cpl. James Gulliver

Dark Horse battalion welcomes new sergeant major

24 Sep 2013 | Cpl. James Gulliver

Marines with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, stood at attention as Sgt Maj. Carlos Ruiz took over as sergeant major of the battalion for Sgt. Maj. Douglas Yagel at a relief and appointment ceremony here, Sept. 20.

Relief and appointment ceremonies are one of the many traditions upheld in the Marine Corps today, which involves the passing of the noncommissioned officer sword from the outgoing sergeant major to the oncoming.

The passing of the sword signifies the transfer of responsibilities and accountability from one senior enlisted Marine to another.

“Sergeant Maj. Ruiz is an excellent choice for this position,” sad Yagel, a native of San Clemente, Calif. “He is a complete professional, and I have no doubt that he will take this battalion to new heights of excellence.”

Ruiz, a native of Oceanside, Calif., said he plans to keep the Marines of the battalion highly disciplined, proficient and ready to do whatever the Marine Corps and the nation needs regardless of the mission.

“It's a big challenge for anyone to take over as sergeant major for a regiment with as much history as 3rd Bn., 5th Marines,” Ruiz said. “Dark Horse battalion is legendary, and it’s an honor for me to be here serving with these Marines.”

During his 20 years in the Marine Corps, Ruiz developed a wealth of knowledge to prepare himself for taking such a prestigious position. Having previously served with an infantry battalion and as a drill instructor, he sees discipline as an important requirement to upholding the reputation of the battalion.

“My plan for this battalion is the same as it has been for every battalion I’ve been with,” Ruiz said. “I’m going to take care of my Marines and push them to maintain the standard set down for them, and uphold their high level of discipline.”

Yagel spoke highly of his Marines, believing that they would not disappoint their new sergeant major.

“I have spent a lot of time around these Marines, they have never let me down and I know they will do the same for Sgt. Maj. Ruiz,” Yagel said. “I am honored and humbled to have worked alongside these Marines. Being their sergeant major is something I will always be proud of.”

Yagel is slated to go to Okinawa, Japan, where he will serve with 12 Marine Regiment.