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Recruiting Station Twin Cities Commanding Officer Maj. Kenneth Gawronski welcomed a new sergeant major when Sgt. Maj. James C. Kirkland (right) relinquished his post to Sgt. Maj. Sean P. Cox during a post and relief ceremony at the Fort Snelling Welcome Center March 9.

Photo by Staff Sgt. Clinton Firstbrook

Midwest Marines welcome new sergeant major to Minnesota

9 Mar 2012 | Staff Sgt. Clinton Firstbrook 9th Marine Corps District

Recruiting Station Twin Cities' senior enlisted Marine relinquished command in a post and relief ceremony at the Fort Snelling Welcome Center March 9.

Sergeant Maj. James Kirkland turned over responsibility to Sgt. Maj. Sean Cox in front of family and friends, including 9th Marine Corps District Commanding Officer Col. James J. Minick and several sergeants major.

"He brought an endless supply of energy with him everywhere he went," said RS TWC Commanding Officer Maj. Kenneth Gawronski, a 36-year-old Liberty, Mo., native. "We will miss him."

Ceremony attendees also included his high school hockey coach, whom Kirkland credits with putting him on the straight and narrow and ultimately pursuing a career in the Marine Corps.

"I know the commitment and dedication it took for him to attain that rank," said Retired Brigade Command Sgt. Maj. John McNamara, who taught at Northfield High School. "To see him reach that level is fantastic."

Kirkland's successor previously served as the first sergeant for 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, in Camp Lejeune, N.C.

"I heard about this unit's fine reputation prior to my arrival," said Cox, 39, from Hoffman Estates, Ill. "My main goal is to continue building on the successes of my predecessor."

Kirkland reports to the Mountain Warfare Training Center later this month.

For additional imagery from the event, visit

9th Marine Corps District