MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Marines and sailors with 7th Marine Regiment received a new commanding officer during a change of command ceremony here, Oct. 17.
Colonel Austin E. Renforth relinquished command to Col. Jay M. Bargeron, who previously served as the ground colonels monitor at the Manpower and Reserve Affairs Department, Headquarters Marine Corps, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.
Bargeron deployed to Iraq in 2006 as the executive officer of Regimental Combat Team 5 and again in 2007 as the commanding officer of 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment.
As the new commanding officer of 7th Marines, Bargeron said combat readiness is his top priority. During the past decade of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, Marine battalions deployed regularly and on a schedule. He said as new threats emerge, Marines must be prepared for any type of mission.
“The future is going to be a lot less certain,” said Bargeron, a native of Valdosta, Ga. “When we get asked to go somewhere, it will be a surprise as to when and where. My priority is getting ready for a broad range of missions.”
Bargeron said combat readiness encompasses people, equipment, training and families, and his primary focus is on the people and families to be ready to go at a moment’s notice.
During his tenure as commanding officer, Renforth led Regimental Combat Team 7 in Afghanistan from October 2012 to August 2013 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. During the deployment, the regiment served as ground combat element for Marines deployed throughout Helmand province.
Renforth said the Marines with the regiment were extremely dedicated and talented, and they require little guidance to accomplish the mission. He was proud of their accomplishments as they supported numerous exercises including Dawn Blitz, Urban Thunder and Spartan Resolve, taking advantage of many training opportunities.
“We had such a good team, and such quality guys came together,” said Renforth, a native of Wheeling, W.Va. “There were a couple times in the field when I saw things clicking without anything I was doing. There’s not a weak person in this regiment. It’s the strongest unit I’ve seen.”
Renforth is currently slated for duty as the Director of the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, Marine Corps University, Quantico, Va.