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Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 Commanding Officer Lt. Col. James B. Wellons handles the sword of office before passing it to the squadron's new sergeant major, Sgt. Maj. David R. Stocks during a relief and appointment ceremony Nov. 7th aboard Eglin Air Force Base, Fl.


Corps’ first F35B Lightning II squadron posts new senior enlisted advisor

22 Nov 2011 | Lance Cpl. Andrea Cleopatra Dickerson

Sgt. Maj. David R. Stocks assumed command of 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing’s Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501, also known as the “Warlords” during a relief and appointment ceremony at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Nov. 7.

The squadron made history last year when it became the first Marine Corps Joint Strike Fighter squadron.

During the ceremony, Stocks received the sword of office from Sgt. Maj. Bonnie Skinner. She was with the squadron last year when they became and the first Marine Corps squadron embedded in an Air Force wing. She was the squadron’s first sergeant major.

“I learned so much being with the Warlords, from the F-35 program, to working as a Marine unit in a joint environment, and learning the different avenues of approach in seeking support on an Air Force base,” said Skinner.

Skinner will now assume the post of sergeant major of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif.

“My advice to the new sergeant major is to continue working daily with the good joint relations between the Marines and 33rd Fighter Wing as well as the base and all supporting establishments on it,” said Skinner.

She went on to say, “I believe you need the right type of person to serve as the senior enlisted advisor in this type of joint environment and program. It is my belief that Sgt. Maj. Stocks is a perfect fit for the unit and will do a tremendous job!”

Stocks grew up in the Marine Corps as an aviation ground support technician and served at various duty stations including MCAS Cherry Point, El Toro, Calif, and MCAS Miramar, Calif.

“I was the plankowner sergeant major for a little over two years,” said Skinner.

Skinner added she will never forget what she learned while with the squadron, and has faith that the squadron is in good hands.

“Sgt. Maj. Stocks, remember that all the services are different and continue to respect each service, after all, ‘one team, one fight.’ In saying that, stay true to the Marines and to the Marine Corps customs and traditions.”

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point