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Brig. Gen. A.J. Pasagian, Marine Corps Systems Command’s commander, passes the Noncommissioned Officer Sword to Sgt. Maj. Allen B. Goodyear, signifying the transfer of sergeant major duties from Cato to Goodyear, during MCSC’s Sergeant Major Relief and Appointment Ceremony at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Stafford, Virginia, April 7, 2022.

Photo by MCSC_OPAC

MCSC bids farewell to Sergeant Major Cato, welcomes Sergeant Major Goodyear

12 Apr 2022 | Morgan Blackstock, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication Marine Corps Systems Command

On Apr. 7, Marine Corps Systems Command bid farewell to  Sgt. Maj. Michael Cato, the command sergeant major, and welcomed Sgt. Maj. Allen Goodyear in a ceremony at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Stafford, Virginia.

Cato served as the command sergeant major from August 2020 to April 2022.

Brig. Gen. A.J. Pasagian, MCSC commander, thanked Cato for his service and dedication to MCSC and the Marine Corps, sharing it was an honor to serve alongside him over the last two years.

"Through the pandemic, Marines still need the gear, need to talk about the gear's capabilities, and be trained as we modernize the Marine Corps," said Pasagian. "Who better to do that with than my Sgt. Maj.? What an honor."

Cato, an Oklahoma City, Oklahoma native, enlisted in the Marine Corps in April 1991. Cato supported Operation Deny Flight, Operation Agile Lion, and Operation Iraqi Freedom during his career. He served in multiple billets such as drill instructor, platoon sergeant, and senior enlisted advisor.

During the ceremony, Pasagian shared how Cato often reminded him that it isn't always about acquisition – it's about the individual Marine.

"At the end of the day it's about a Marine and his or her rifle," said Pasagian. "You never let me forget that and you represent the most important part of this command. We have a connective tissue back to the fleet, back to that single solitary Marine Grunt… it's less about an acquisition. It's the means not the ends. It all about our connective tissue, our DNA, our admiration for one another."

Cato thanked his family and friends for their dedication and support during his final speech. He thanked his fellow Marines and reminded them that he did not get to where he is alone. He highlighted the MCSC team and their commitment to equipping Marines.

"I've never felt like I was the biggest person in the room and that's help me grow in this command and in life," said Cato, "I want to say thank you for that because everyone here brings something to the table. Not only do you bring something to the table, but you bring it well."

Goodyear continues serving this critical role as he takes the helm.

"I promise I will keep the torch burning," said Goodyear. "I look forward to working with each and everyone one of you. I'm extremely excited for this opportunity."

Goodyear enlisted in the Marine Corps in August 1996 and has served in roles ranging from rifle platoon sergeant with Bravo Company 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines in Iraq to sergeant major of the Marine Air Control Group 38 with 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing in Miramar, California. He has supported Operation Desert Fox, Operation Desert Anvil, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. 

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