Camp Courtney, Okinawa, Japan -- Maj. Gen. H. Stacy Clardy III assumed command of 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, from Maj. Gen. Frederick M. Padilla during a change of command ceremony July 12 at Camp Courtney.
Clardy was commissioned in May 1983 and his previous assignment was at Headquarters Marine Corps, where he served as the director of operations with Plans, Policies and Operations.
“I am so honored and humble to have this opportunity to come to this inspiring division and take over for a good friend of mine,” said Clardy. “It is quite an honor for me, and I very much look forward to serving with the finest division in the Marine Corps.”
Clardy plans to build upon the successes of Padilla and prior division commanders.
“Because of the job I had before this, I was able to watch what was going on out here, and Maj. Gen. Padilla should be very proud of what he has done over the last two years,” said Clardy. “The division has done a tremendous job in the past, and I am hoping to continue (that legacy).”
Padilla began his command of 3rd Marine Division in July 2011 and will now become the director of operations with Plans, Policies and Operations, Headquarters Marine Corps.
Padilla's leadership has driven 3rd Marine Division to myriad accomplishments across the Asia-Pacific region, according to Sgt. Maj. Paul G. McKenna, the sergeant major of 3rd Marine Division.
“In the short time I have served as his sergeant major, I can tell you that I have never served with a more committed commander, who cares for the health and welfare of his Marines and sailors, than Maj. Gen. Padilla,” said McKenna. “I would be honored to have my son, who is a U.S. Marine, serve under his command.”
During Padilla’s command of 3rd Marine Division, he and Clardy had worked together to re-establish the unit deployment program, according to McKenna.
The UDP was suspended in 2003 due to personnel requirements needed to support Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. With the UDP, the 3rd Marine Division increases its ability to participate in exercises with allies and partner nations throughout the Asia-Pacific region, as well as provide the Marines necessary to respond to any crises or contingencies in the III MEF area of operations.
The 3rd Marine Division is prepared for Clardy’s command, and what changes he may bring with him, according to McKenna.
“We are both excited to see the increase in forces to this area of operations and look forward to getting out and seeing the men and women of this magnificent division,” said McKenna.
Leaving the division may be difficult for Padilla, who recognizes the effort spent by the Marines and sailors, but he is confident they will do the same for Clardy.
“The Marines and sailors of 3rd Marine Division are top-notch,” said Padilla. “I’m amazed at what you’ve accomplished. It’s been a tremendous tour for me, and I will never forget you all. I look forward to serving with you in the future, and God bless you.”