MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP BLAZ, Guam -- Marine Corps Base (MCB) Camp Blaz instated its first sergeant major during an appointment ceremony held at the base on Feb. 16, 2023. Sgt. Maj. Daniel Soto will be the base’s first sergeant major since its official activation in 2020.
“This is a special day, a very important day in the history of this base,” said Col. Christopher Bopp, commanding officer MCB Camp Blaz. "Sergeant Major Soto is here to help bring this base together. As the sergeant major he is the keeper of customs, courtesies and tradition. He’s a mentor to all and upholds the discipline and standards of the Marine Corps."
The sergeant major of a unit is the senior enlisted leader and advisor who is responsible for the welfare and morale of the Marines. The sergeant major is also an advocate for the enlisted Marines of his or her unit.
“This isn’t about me, it’s about the men and women behind me,” said Soto. “It’s about Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz, and it’s about our honor, our legacy, and our timeless traditions.”
In attendance were senior military leaders from across the island to include the Guam National Guard Adjutant General and the Command Chief Master Sergeant for the 36th Wing. Marine veterans from Once a Marine Always a Marine, III Marine Division Guam Chapter, and the Guam Veterans Commission as well as Gold Star Families, United Service Organizations, Navy League of the US-Guam Council, and the Guam Chamber of Commerce came to view the historic occasion.
“I assure you, we’ll do everything we can to serve the people of Guam, our country and our Corps,” said Soto during his remarks.
The ceremony included the passing of the sword of office from the commanding officer to Soto. Since 1875, non-commissioned and staff non-commissioned officers have carried the non-commissioned officer sword. The sword represents a facet of military tradition and is entrusted to those who are responsible for maintaining it.
Prior to the appointment of Sgt. Maj. Soto, the base had a Senior Enlisted Leader position filled by Master Gunnery Sgt. Brian Burgess who also serves as the provost sergeant for MCB Camp Blaz’s Provost Marshals Office.
“I’m glad to have Sergeant Major Soto here so we can continue to grow this base, to get it to what it needs to be for the defense of our nation and for the defense of Guam,” said Bopp.
MCB Camp Blaz will play an essential role in strengthening the Department of Defense’s ability to deter and defend while securing a Marine Corps posture in the Indo-Pacific region that is geographically distributed and operationally resilient.