MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. – Lt. Gen. David H. Berger, the commanding general of Marine Corps Combat Development Command relinquished authority to Lt. Gen. Eric M. Smith in a brief ceremony at Lejeune Field, June 13, 2019.
“When I assumed command of this office, Gen. Charles Krulak told me ‘All of your three stars get one vote, except the one at MCCDC – he gets a vote and a half,’” said the Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert B. Neller, the reviewing officer for the ceremony.
He continued to say how the command develops the ideas and procures the equipment for Marines, and the doctrine to support it all happens at Quantico.
“So to Dave and Donna Berger, thank you for all you have done.”
As Berger departs combat development command, he prepares to take on the role of leading the Marine Corps as its next commandant in July.
“Summertime really is a time for change,” Berger said. “Donna and I and our family know how blessed we are just to get to this point.”
“We give credit to the Lord for allowing us to be here and to watch over us. After that, it really is up to the commandant to give us chances and opportunities.”
The new combat development command commanding general has served more than 30 years in the Marine Corps. Smith takes command with understanding of its cogs because he was a part of it; He once served as the director of the Fires and Maneuver Integration Division, and then later the director of Capabilities Development Directorate.
In the past seven years, he and his family moved seven times, most recently leaving his last duty station, where he served as the commanding general of 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force and commander of Marine Forces Japan.
“Commandant, Gen. Berger, we appreciate you for coming out and support the MCCDC team,” said Smith, speaking of himself and wife, but then spoke about the Marines, who work at Quantico for those forward deployed.
“We all have skin in this game, because we all have someone in the Marine Corps we care about,” he said. “We will do our very best to take care for this institution.”
The combat development command facilitates the fielding of Marine Corps war fighting capabilities to units. It also addresses, informs and develops solutions for senior leadership at the highest levels of the Marine Corps and Department of Defense.
“For the Smiths; you were the best pick for this, and I want to thank you for accepting that responsibility and that challenge,” Neller said. “I’m sorry you had to move again, I really am.”
“But this is the life that we lead, and I have every confidence you will continue the work of all the great leaders that preceded you.”