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ARLINGTON , Va. — Sgt. Maj. Carlton W. Kent will be the next Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, officials announced Friday afternoon.

Marine Corps Commandant James Conway named Kent to the position at a ceremony at Camp Pendleton , Calif. , according to a Corps news release.

He will become the 16th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, replacing Sgt. Maj. John L. Estrada, who has held the position since June 2003.

Kent had been assigned to I Marine Expeditionary Force since April 2004.

Born in Memphis , Tenn. , Kent has been in the Corps for more than 30 years, completing boot camp at Parris Island in March 1976.

Kent served as Sergeant Major of Marine Forces Europe for three years prior to his time with I MEF.

His awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal and Combat Action Ribbon. He also received the Gen. Gerald C. Thomas Award for inspirational leadership.

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