CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Marines, civilian Marines, distinguished guests and loved ones gathered Feb. 8, for a relief and appointment ceremony on the parade field at Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
During the ceremony, Sgt. Maj. Keith Massi relinquished the sword of office to Sgt. Maj. Jerry Gomes. Massi had assumed his post as the MCTSSA sergeant major in August 2016 and oversaw a workforce of approximately 300 personnel.
“It blows me away what you do for the Marine Corps,” said Massi. “For such a tiny organization, the contribution is massive.”
Upon relieving Massi of his post, MCTSSA Commanding Officer Col. Robert Bailey presented him with the Meritorious Service Medal, gold star in lieu of fourth award, for his outstanding leadership, meritorious conduct and service during his time with MCTSSA.
“They gave me a medal today, but I do not deserve it,” said Massi. “If I could, I would chop up this medal and give each of you a piece.”
Massi’s substantial experience, motivation and mentorship helped an acquisition-focused unit to maintain its focus as a professional and mission-capable organization keenly connected to the needs of the warfighter. For those at MCTSSA who know Massi, including the commanding officer, the medal proudly displayed on Massi’s chest is located exactly where it should be.
“I simply could not have asked for a better sergeant major; you are the personification of what a sergeant major is supposed to be,” said Bailey. “You never let me down, and you helped this command be successful. I will miss my partner and a great friend.”
Gomes comes to MCTSSA with a considerable amount of aviation support experience. He assumed the post of MCTSSA sergeant major following his duties as the sergeant major for Marine Aircraft Group 13, Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, from April 2016 to February 2019.
“I am excited to learn all the great things you do here and get to know the Marines,” said Gomes.
MCTSSA, an elite, full-scale laboratory facility operated by the Marine Corps, is a subordinate command of Marine Corps Systems Command. MCTSSA provides test and evaluation, engineering and deployed technical support for Marine Corps and joint service command, control, computer, communications and intelligence systems throughout all acquisition life-cycle phases.