MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Capt. Charles R. Johnston, oncoming Combat Logistics Company 36 commanding officer, took the reins from Maj. Andres Caceres-Solari during the CLC-36 change-of-command ceremony outside the CLC-36 building, June 13, 2013.
Along with local attendees, senior leaders from Combat Logistics Regiment 35, based out of Okinawa, took time to visit. Cmdr. Jennifer Smith, CLR-35 executive officer, shared personalwords to the officers changing commands.
“It has been a pleasure working with you since I reported last October,” said Smith. ”You wouldalways bring a smile to my face, even when you were calling me with some not-so-very-good news, which wasn’t often for CLC-36. You’re always thinking of your Marines and sailors, whether it was building igloos … or the most recent (Field Supply Maintenance Analyzes Office), where they did an outstanding job, we do appreciate it.”
Smith then touched on the intricacies of Caceres-Solari’s dedication to Japan during his service.
“You have provided extensive support throughout the (Marine Expeditionary Force),” said Smith. “In Operation Tomodachi, you helped organize and provide evacuation procedures for 20,000 civilians. I want to thank you for your drive and spirit here at CLC-36. I know your Marines and sailors here appreciate your leadership and devotion.”
Nearing the end of her comments, Smith praised the former commanding officer on his future duty assignment, before turning her attention to the new CLC-36 commander.
“I want to wish you luck in your next assignment; I don’t know how you got it, but to be assigned as a NATO land operations subject matter expert in the Netherlands is fabulous,” said Smith. “I don’t know how many Marines can have that opportunity. They definitely picked the right man for that job. To Captain Johnston … I look forward to working with you. I know the company is going to be in good hands. You have a wealth of knowledge coming back from Afghanistan. You are already devoted to your Marines and sailors, we know that, and we have high expectations of you. You have big shoes to fill, but I know you will.”
Once handed the microphone, Caceres-Solari took a few moments to recognize the senior members attending, then quickly turning his attention to who he has spent the past three years working with: his Marines and sailors.
“I know commander Smith just mentioned that there are big shoes for you, Johnston, to step forward and fill in, but I can tell you they’re very small,” said Caceres-Solari. “I’ll tell you who has the big shoes, the Marines right here, the Marines and sailors of CLC-36. The Marines you see right here in front of you are dedicated here in the community and out in town. They spend countless hours at every single MCCS event. They come to work with a smile every day; they come to work with a mission. You can see them singing, joking, but getting their stuff done. As a result … we had a 2012 year of no safety mishaps. These Marines and sailors in front of you, they did it all, I just did it with
them. Keep in mind the Marines of CLC-36, because without them, I would be very little.”
Being no stranger to CLC-36, Johnson took to the stage and showed his eagerness in taking up the reins as commanding officer.
“I’m not new to the unit, I’ve been here for about three years … and I’m really excited to get back with these Marines and get back into it,” said Johnston. “I just want to say how thankful I am to Major Caceres. For the past three years, you’ve been my mentor, advisor and guide for the issues I had and that I was going through. I depended greatly on your guidance, and I sincerely appreciate everything you’ve brought to the table.”
During the ceremony, Caceras-Solari received the Meritorious Service Medal and Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.