July 11, 2014 --
With a bright, blue sky and the Potomac River as a backdrop, 150 boots marched to the beat of a bass drum July 11 in honor of a military tradition that happens only once every few years: the change of command. In a ceremony held on Hospital Point aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, Brig. Gen. Frank Kelley passed the Marine Corps Systems Command flag—and responsibility for the organization he commanded the last four years—to Col. Joseph Shrader.
Kelley, a Marine Corps aviator by trade, took command of MCSC in July 2010. As commander, he led 2,600 Marines and civilian Marines in the acquisition and sustainment of systems and equipment for Marine operating forces.
"Four years ago I stood in front of this crowd and said we were going to be deliberate, disciplined and we were going to provide visibility for the people we work with and for," Kelley said. "[I said] we were going to seek opportunities for collaboration across the enterprise. [This command] accomplished that.”
Kelley took the opportunity to thank several members of the command, past and present, as well as Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. John Paxton and other Marine officers and senior executives who mentored him and influenced his career.
"When four years goes by this quickly, you have to take the time for those who took the time for you,” he said.
During Kelley’s tenure, Marine Corps Systems Command saw its share of challenges and achievements.
“In a set of years when no one could have predicted things like sequestration, furlough, a declining budget and [withdrawal from] Iraq and Afghanistan, you have performed magnificently,” Kelley said. “I could not have asked for anything better. And I thank you.”
Kelley will go on to serve as vice commander at Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, Maryland. Shrader comes to MCSC from the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Expeditionary Programs and Logistics Management where he served as chief of staff since May 2013. He also served two previous tours at MCSC as a deputy program manager, product group director and program manager.
"Command is an awesome responsibility,” Shrader said. “I get that. I know this command has my back. Now, what I have to do is live up to your expectations, and I get that too.”
Shrader issued his commander’s intent July 11, which he asked MCSC Marines and civilian Marines to “read and return to often.”
"It’s going to provide the path forward, enable you to exercise sound judgment and initiative, and it’s in concert with higher headquarters’ intent and aims,” he said. “We’re never going to forget why we’re here, and that’s to serve the operating forces and make sure they can carry out their warfighting mission. I promise you we will do that as long as I’m here."