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Sgt. Maj. Octaviano Gallegos Jr. relinquishes his duties as the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit sergeant major to Sgt. Maj. Lanette N. Wright, March 14, 2014, aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C. Gallegos, a Las Cruces, N.M., native, left the 24th MEU after 2 deployments and will assume the role of sergeant major for the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, March 17, 2014.

Photo by Cpl. Michael Petersheim

24th Marine Expeditionary Unit welcomes the Marine Corps’ first female MEU sergeant major

14 Mar 2014 | Cpl. Joshua W. Grant 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Sgt. Maj. Octaviano Gallegos, Jr. relinquished the duties of sergeant major of 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit to Sgt. Maj. Lanette Wright aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, March 14.

Wright became the first female MEU sergeant major in the history of the Marine Corps.

“Today is a chance for me to serve the Marine Corps at a higher level, I’m humbled and thankful to be able to take over this position,” said Wright. “Being a Marine leader, this is a great opportunity to be able to expand on my leadership.”

Wright assumes duties for the 24th MEU after leaving the Command Inspector General office, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, as the senior enlisted advisor. Her personal decorations include two Meritorious Service Medals, three Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals.

Wright accepts her new duties during Women’s History Month; 71 years after the Marine Corps began accepting women into recruit training.

“It’s a historic day, but I don’t want to make this about women, it’s really just about being a Marine and taking the opportunities to serve the Marine Corps,” said Wright. “I wouldn’t say I opened any new doors for women in the Marine Corps. There are plenty of opportunities, we just haven’t reached them due to the sheer number of women in the Marine Corps.”

Wright enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1989 and deployed in support of Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom, and Unified Protector.

The command wishes Sgt. Maj. Gallegos the best on his future assignments, and they look forward to working with Sgt. Maj. Wright, said Col. Scott Benedict, commanding officer of 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

“I’m looking forward to having Sgt. Maj. Wright come onboard to the MEU and having another two years of fantastic leadership,” said Benedict. “She brings a great background to the unit, she has experience with expeditionary units and also experience with many of the Marine Corps major operations over the last 20 years. She brings the type of leadership we demand from our Sgt. Maj., and I think she’s going to fit in just fine.”

Gallegos left the MEU to assume duties as sergeant major for the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade.

“I’m going to miss the Marines,” said Gallegos. “We can spend millions of dollars on weapons, ships and gear, but it would never work without the Marines to operate it. They are our biggest asset.”