2/7 CO retires, new CO takes his place

Lt. Col. Joseph A. L’Etoile passes the flag and relinquishes command of 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, to Lt. Col. Richard D. Hall at Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Gray Field, Sept. 7. L’Etoile retired from active duty after 20 years of faithful service as a commissioned officer in the Marine Corps.

Pfc. Jared J. Butler

Combat Correspondent

Lt. Col. Joseph A. L’Etoile, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment commanding officer, relinquished the command of 2/7 to Lt. Col. Richard D. Hall in a change of command ceremony and retirement at Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Gray Field, Sept. 7.

The ceremony gave the Marines of 2/7 a chance to not only welcome their new commanding officer, but bid farewell to L’Etoile as he retired from active duty in the Marine Corps after 20 years of faithful service as a commissioned officer.

After serving as a speech writer for the 32nd and 33rd Commandants of the Marine Corps, L’Etoile came to the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center and took command of 2/7 in February 2004.

“The last 28 months have been the biggest privilege of my life,” said L’Etoile. “And I wouldn’t trade a single day of my time here because I got to spend it with the best Marines and sailors in the Marine Corps.”

L’Etoile’s history with 2/7 extends past the time he spent as the commanding officer of the battalion, for he served as company commander of Weapons Company, 2/7, from 1995 to 1997.

“I felt like I hit the jackpot when I came back to take command of 2/7,” said L’Etoile. “This is truly the proudest moment of my life.”

Hall shares the same familiarity of 2/7 when he served as the commanding officer of Fox Company, 2/7.

“The Marine Corps picked one of the best officers to replace me,” said L’Etoile. “They also picked one of my best friends.”

Hall did not only take charge of his former battalion, but headed down the same path as his friend and fellow Marine, L’Etoile.

“I couldn’t be happier to follow in Lieutenant Colonel L’Etoile’s footsteps,” said Hall. “I am in awe of the position I’m in today.”

L’Etoile sent his thanks to 2/7’s officers and staff noncommissioned officers and Hall congratulated them for the hard work they have accomplished the past 28 months.

“The officers, staff noncommissioned officers and I will do our best to ensure every Marine is well taken care of, every day,” said Hall.

Hall, a former executive officer of 7th Marines, served as the commanding officer of the Marine Detachment in Fort Benning, GA, before being assigned to 2/7.

“This is, in my opinion, the best battalion in the Marine Corps,” said Hall. “It is a privilege to take the helm of 2/7.”

Hall will continue his 28-year Marine Corps career and his history with 2/7 as the battalion’s commanding officer for many months to come.

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