Sgt. Maj. Lynnette Marr-Gaye relinquished the role of sergeant major of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 269 at Marine Corps Air Station New River, Jan. 13.
Marr-Gaye served HMLA-269 for three years and will be reporting to 8th Communications Battalion on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.
"It’s a bitter sweet moment; I’ve thoroughly enjoyed serving with the gun runners. It’s sad to go, but I know this squadron is going to be left in good hands. I’ve learned a lot in the short amount of time that I’ve been here," said Marr-Gaye. "I have much respect for the aviation community and what the flight squadrons do. They have an awesome work ethic, they take care of one another, they stay out of trouble and they just understand what mission accomplishment is, and they absolutely refuse to fail."
Sgt. Maj. Edward Heyward II, who was the sergeant major for the 2nd Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, is the oncoming senior enlisted leader and looks forward to returning to the aviation field.
"Normally I think leaving units there’s a bit of a separation anxiety," said Heyward. "You’re leaving your guys you’ve gotten to know behind and you have to foster new relationships and figure out what the next unit does. That being said I have an aviation background and I’ve been welcomed here with open arms. My wife and I are both very excited to be here. To say that I’m happy to be here would be a terrible understatement."
The Marines at HMLA-269 will miss Marr-Gaye, but are excited for the change in sergeants major.
"Sgt. Maj. Marr-Gaye cared for Marines, she took a lot of time for Marines especially junior Marines whenever they had a question and I’m going to miss (her)," said Sgt. Vasel Mitteff, flight line mechanic for HMLA-269. "Sgt. Maj. Heyward is going to be a change but the only thing we can do is go with the change, and I think it’s going to be a good change because as NCOs and junior Marines we have to learn and see this change come in. This job changes so much that we have to be able to work with and embrace it."
Every Marine congratulated and said their farewells to Marr-Gaye as she moved onto Communications Battalion. She has been supported by her husband 1st Sgt. Reginald Gaye throughout her time at HMLA-269. They have been married for 19 years.
"It’s a sad day for her to leave," said 1st Sgt. Reginald Gaye, Company B, Headquarters Support Battalion, Camp Lejeune. "I’ve been with her through the highs and lows. I’m sure she’ll be missing her squadron, but she’s going on to do bigger and better things over in 8th Communications Battalion."
"It’s been a great experience and an honor to serve with the Marines. I’ve learned something from each and every Marine regardless of rank so it’s been an awesome experience, I wouldn’t trade it for the world," said Marr-Gaye.
"In the Marine Corps we do a lot of drills and ceremonies and they often get lost. In the ceremony today you can see the Marine of HMLA-269 ‘The Gun Runners’ as they refer to themselves, they put on a good show not only for the outgoing Sgt. Maj. but the incoming Sgt. Maj. as well," said Gaye.