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Sgt. Maj. Don M. Gallagher, takes a noncommissioned officers sword from Maj. Gen. Terry G. Robling, former commanding general of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, marking his assumption of responsibilities as 3rd MAW sergeant major. Retired Sgt. Maj. Louis M. Espinal, former 3rd MAW sergeant major passed on his responsibilities before receiving his retirement orders after 30 years of service.

Photo by Cpl. Fredrick J. Coleman

3rd MAW welcomes new CG, senior enlisted advisor

7 Aug 2009 | Cpl. Fredrick J. Coleman

The 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing recently welcomed a new commanding general and sergeant major as Maj. Gen. Terry G. Robling and Sgt. Maj. Louis M. Espinal relinquished their responsibilities to Maj. Gen. Thomas L. Conant and Sgt. Maj. Don W. Gallagher.

Robling passed on the 3rd MAW battle colors to Conant Aug. 7, officially marking the beginning of Conant’s tenure as commanding general.

Instead of the generals’ wives receiving flowers, Conant and Robling made donations to the Semper Fi Fund, which provides financial assistance to those injured during Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.

Conant comes to 3rd MAW after serving as the director for strategic planning and policy with U.S. Forces Pacific Command.

Conant has participated in various operations worldwide to include Operations Sharp Edge in Liberia; Support Democracy in Haiti; and Restore Hope and United Nations operations in Somalia.

He has also served with all four Marine aircraft wings as a UH-1N “Huey” and AH-1W “Cobra” pilot.

Conant earned his bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University and master’s degree in Military Studies with honors in Defense Management from American Military University.

Conant’s personal awards include a Defense Superior Service Medal, a Legion of Merit with gold star in lieu of second award, a Meritorious Service Medal and a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal.

Robling, now selected for lieutenant general, took command of 3rd MAW July 2007. Before his time with 3rd MAW, he served as director of Strategy and Plans Division in plans, policy and operations at Headquarters Marine Corps.

In 2004, Robling assumed duties as chief of staff of striking and Support Forces of the NATO in Naples, Italy. In 2003, he took on the responsibilities as 3rd MAW (Fwd.) commanding general during his deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Robling earned his bachelors’ degree in Business Administration from Central Washington University.

Robling’s personal awards include a Defense Superior Service Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and Legion of Merit.

Robling will move on to become the commanding general of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force.

Although, the first of the two changes happened when Gallagher assumed responsibilities as the wing senior enlisted advisor from Espinal Aug. 6.

Gallagher came to 3rd MAW after serving as sergeant major of the 1st Marine Regiment. He deployed with Regimental Combat Team 1 to eastern Al-Anbar Province, Iraq during OIF from January 2008 to January 2009.

Gallagher served as the Marine Air Control Group 38 (Forward) sergeant major during his deployment to Al-Asad Air Base, Iraq in January 2006. Before deploying with MACG-38, he served as the Marine Tactical Air Control Squadron 38 sergeant major.

His personal awards include a Bronze Star Medal, a Meritorious Service Medal with gold star, a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with gold star and combat “V” device and a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with gold star.

Espinal carried out his final duty as an active-duty Marine when he relinquished his responsibilities to Gallagher. Espinal received his retirement orders during the ceremony after serving 30 years.

Espinal’s wife, Margarita, also received a Certificate of Commendation for her support during her husband’s Marine Corps career. Espinal arrived at 3rd MAW in February 2007. For more than two years, he and Robling ensured the Marines and sailors of the wing remained combat ready for the wing’s year-long rotation that began in February 2008 as the command deck for Multi National Forces-West air combat element in Iraq.

His personal awards include a Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with gold star, and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with gold star.

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3rd Marine Aircraft Wing