Maj. Gen. Michael F. Fahey III assumed command of Marine Corps Forces, South during a change of command ceremony in Doral, Florida, Aug. 21.
Maj. Gen. David G. Bellon passed the reins to Fahey after serving as the commander of MARFORSOUTH since May 2017.
Fahey was previously the commander of Force Headquarters Group, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve. Bellon is set to be the plans director at U.S. Southern Command, and is currently acting as the SOUTHCOM military deputy commander.
During the last year, the Marines and Sailors of MARFORSOUTH have taken steps to create a multinational maritime task force comprised of regional partners to respond to natural disasters and humanitarian crises. For the first time in history, Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force - Southern Command deployed with a partner nation service member as its deputy commander. Planners from MARFORSOUTH are currently in Brazil in support of UNITAS Amphibious. The knowledge gained and enhanced integration from this year’s tabletop exercise will set the stage for a multinational task force to take to the sea to conduct humanitarian assistance and disaster relief training during next year’s UNITAS Amphibious.
“It takes a tremendous amount of passion and energy to first conceive of a new strategy and then to make the effort to address as many equities holders as possible early on to give the strategy a chance to be successful,” said Bellon. “All of this was done by a small staff who were juggling many other priorities. It was classic problem solving followed by true grit; what we expect of Marines. I am thrilled that there is now momentum behind a multinational maritime task force focused on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief that will become a reality in the years ahead.”
Bellon credited the drive and dedication of the individual Marines under his charge for the command’s progress in making the multinational maritime task force a reality.
“Inspiration and insight is rank agnostic,” said Bellon. “Opportunity comes when a few Marines and sailors do the work necessary to recognize a threat or opportunity early and then immediately follow with the passion and moral certainty to make a difference.”
For his part, Fahey said he was looking forward to commanding the Marines of MARFORSOUTH and working with their partners in the region.
“I look forward to working with each and every one of the Marines, sailors and civilians on the MARFORSOUTH team,” said Fahey. “I attended the MARFORSOUTH Regional Marine Conference in June and was incredibly impressed by the professionalism and regional knowledge base of the team. The same applies to my turnover briefs over the last week - just an amazing group of dedicated people. It is both motivating and inspiring to me.”