The first female commander of Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island gave way Friday to its first African-American commander.
After three years overseeing the training of thousands of recruits, Brig. Gen. Lori Reynolds relinquished command to Brig. Gen. Terry Williams in a ceremony attended by about 200 people inside the base’s All Weather Training Facility.
Williams was the director of public affairs for the Marine Corps, serving at the Pentagon since June 2013, before his assignment to Parris Island.
In his new role, Williams will oversee the depot and command the Eastern Recruiting Region, which spans 23 states east of the Mississippi River, as well as Puerto Rico.
Williams and others who spoke at Friday’s ceremony made no mention of his historic appointment, much as little was made of Reynolds’ historic appointment when she took command three years ago.
Before his service in Washington, Williams had served as commander of Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany in Georgia and had deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.
The California native entered the Marine Corps in 1986 after graduating from University of California Los Angeles. Williams’ family — wife, B.J., and sons Christian and Sean — were on hand Friday, as were friends and family from Georgia and California.
Williams said it was a great honor to be appointed commanding general and thanked Reynolds for her service.
“What a great organization you are handing over to me,” Williams said.
Reynolds became the first female commander of Parris Island when she was appointed to the position in 2011.
Maj. Gen. Thomas Murray praised Reynolds’ leadership and communication skills Friday, citing her background as a communications officer in the Marine Corps.
“Lori is someone who really connects with people,” Murray said. “Her legacy here will be very lasting.”
Reynolds spoke briefly, thanking her family, the base’s staff and Beaufort residents.
“Everybody is happy here,” she said. “There’s a unity of purpose, a unity of mission, and a unity of command. Terry, enjoy it, because it is going to go fast.”
After departing from Parris Island, Reynolds will go to Washington, D.C., to become the principal director to the deputy assistant secretary of defense for South and Southeast Asia.