Lt. Gen. Lewis Craparotta relieved Lt. Gen. David Berger as commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific at a ceremony at Camp Smith, Hawaii, earlier this week, in what has become a common thread linking the careers of both generals.
Two years ago, in 2016, at Camp Pendleton, Calif., Craparotta arrived to take over command 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF) from Berger, who was then bound for Hawaii, according to their official bios.
Four years ago, in 2014, Craparotta arrived at Twentynine Palms, Calif., to relieve Berger as the commanding general of Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center and Training Command. Berger was then headed to command I MEF.
Six years ago, in 2012, Craparotta transferred authority of Task Force Leatherneck at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, to Berger, who had just become commanding general of 1st Marine Division (Forward).
Under his watch in Hawaii, Berger oversaw the introduction of the F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter into the Marine Expeditionary Force. Also during his command, the first operational F-35B deployment occurred a Marine Expeditionary Unit, according to the Marine Corps.
“I have learned a ton here and had a blast for two years,” Berger said during the change of command ceremony, according to media release. “I couldn’t ask for anything more; it’s been an honor to command here.”
Berger leaves Hawaii for Quantico, Va., where he’ll become the deputy commandant of the Marine Corps for Combat Development and Integration (CD&I) and the commanding general of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command (MCCDC).
“For the Marine Corps, the Pacific, this is our place,” Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller said during the ceremony, according to a media release. “This is the largest operational command in the Marine Corps. …This is where Marines do their business, and so, this is a big deal. That’s why we send our very, very best out here.”
Craparotta, according to a media release, thanked Neller for the confidence in his ability to take over the largest Marine Corps field command, overseeing roughly 86,000 Marines and sailors, according to the Marine Corps.
“Marines have a long history in this region,” Craparotta said at the ceremony.
“In peacetime and combat we’ve made a name for ourselves as the combatant commander’s crisis response force, and I look forward to continuing that tradition.”