MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. (June 21, 2013) -- Sgt. Maj. Anthony P. Banks Sr. handed the sword of office to Sgt. Maj. Kevin S. Wiss, who became the sergeant major of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 366 during a ceremony here today.
Banks retired during the same ceremony after 30 years of service in the Marine Corps.
He began his career as a cannoneer with Marine artillery and served in multiple combat deployments including Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, and Iraqi Freedom.
He said being with an aviation unit was a learning experience and he thanked the Marines for all the hard work they put in every day.
“I thank them for their hard work and dedication,” said Banks. “Prior to coming to the aviation community, I knew that the Marines worked, but I didn’t understand the long hours it took to maintain this aircraft. I thank them for their efforts to support the ground folks.”
This is also Wiss’ first taste of a flying squadron in the Marine Corps.
“This is a unique opportunity for me,” said Wiss. “In my Marine Corps career, I’ve done the division; I’ve done part of the wing but it was a support squadron with no flying, and this is my first time actually being with a flying squadron. I’m learning something totally new that I haven’t learned in 23 years in the Marine Corps.”
While Wiss will be learning a lot, he also brings a lot of knowledge for the rest of the squadron to learn from, having participated in the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns twice each.
Before departing, Banks had some advice for Wiss.
“Just treat them with firmness, fairness, dignity and respect, and they will surely follow you and accomplish any mission.”
Wiss arrived from I Marine Expeditionary Force where he served as the headquarters company first sergeant. His decorations included Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with a gold start in lieu of second award.