New Marine commanders take over in Afghanistan


Maj. Gen. Charles Gurganus, left, tours Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, in September 2011. (Marine Corps photo)

It’s that time of the year again: Transition is coming in Afghanistan.

The Marine Corps is in the process of swapping out the command elements in Helmand province, a rotation that will put new general officers in the driver’s seat. Maj. Gen. John Toolan, commander of Regional Command Southwest and II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), will be replaced March 12 by Maj. Gen. Charles Gurganus, Toolan said.

The subordinate command elements in Helmand province already have made the transition. The new commanders are:

Maj. Gen. Charles Gurganus

Commanding general, Regional Command Southwest and I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward)

Gurganus will lead about 17,000 Marines and thousands more coalition troops at the beginning of his deployment, managing both continued combat operations and a drawdown to about 7,000 Marines by October. He previously served as the head of Marine ground forces in Iraq in 2007 and 2008.

Maj. Gen. David Berger

Commanding general, Task Force Leatherneck and 1st Marine Division (Fwd.)

He took over for Brig. Gen. Lewis Craparotta on Feb. 25, and will lead the I MEF (Fwd.) ground combat element. Berger previously served as the one-star director of operations at Marine Corps headquarters, and led Regimental Combat Team 8 in Iraq in 2005 and 2006.

Brig. Gen. Gregg Sturdevant

Commanding general, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Fwd.)

He took over for Maj. Gen. Glenn Walters as the head of Marine aviation in Afghanistan on Feb. 29. A former Marine sergeant, Sturdevant served as the commanding officer of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., from May 2006 to May 2008. He has been selected for promotion to major general.

Brig. Gen. John Broadmeadow

Commanding general, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Fwd.)

He took over for Brig. Gen. Michael Dana as the head of Marine logistics in Afghanistan on Feb. 19. Broadmeadow served as the commanding officer of Marine Wing Support Squadron 371, out of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., in Iraq from 2004 to 2006, and as the team chief and senior adviser to the 7th Iraqi Infantry Division during combat operations in 2008.


About Author

I'm a senior writer with Marine Corps Times, covering ground warfare, manpower, weapons acquisition and other beats. I embedded in Afghanistan in spring 2010, and plan to return at least once in 2011.

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