New sergeant major takes over duties

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Photo above: Sgt. Maj. Rafael Rodriguez, left, returns the sword, a traditional symbol or authority, to Brig. Gen. Austin E. Renfro after being named Depot Sgt. Maj. during a Relief, Appointment and Retirement Ceremony on Jan. 13 at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island. At right is outgoing Sgt. Maj. Angela M. Maness who retired after 30 years of military service which started at Parris Island in 1987. Photo by Bob Sofaly.

Staff reports

Sgt. Maj. Angela M. Maness, the first female senior enlisted Marine at Marine Barracks Washington and the sergeant major of Parris Island, retired and after almost 30 years of honorable service on Jan. 13.

Taking over command is Sgt. Maj. Rafael Rodriguez.

Maness became the sergeant major of Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island and Eastern Recruiting Region in November 2014.

Maness assumed her post as the commanding general’s senior enlisted advisor in November 2014.

“For the Marines, I want to say thanks for the opportunity to lead you,” said Maness. “I never did anything in the Marine Corps alone.”

Rodriguez is no stranger to Parris Island. He earned the title Marine there, walking across the main parade deck in March 1992.

He returned in September 2001 as a drill instructor and also served as a senior drill instructor and series gunnery sergeant (chief drill instructor). In January 2008, he returned for another tour, serving as a company first sergeant and then Drill Instructor School first sergeant.

Rodriguez comes to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot after serving as the sergeant major of Headquarters Regiment, 1st Marine Logistics Group, at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Rodriguez personal awards include the Bronze Star Medal with two gold stars in lieu of third award, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with three gold stars in lieu of fourth award, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with gold star in lieu of second award and the Combat Action Ribbon with gold star in lieu of 2nd award.