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Brig. Gen. Mark A. Brilakis, center, passes 'The Fightin' Third' battle colors back to Sgt.  Maj. Bruce Cole, 3rd marine division sergeant major, right, after receiving them from the outgoing Commanding General of 3rd Marine Division, Maj. Gen. James B. Laster. Brilakis took the helm of 3rd Marine Division Tuesday in a ceremony aboard Camp Courtney on Okinawa.
Brig. Gen. Mark A. Brilakis, center, passes 'The Fightin' Third' battle colors back to Sgt. Maj. Bruce Cole, 3rd marine division sergeant major, right, after receiving them from the outgoing Commanding General of 3rd Marine Division, Maj. Gen. James B. Laster. Brilakis took the helm of 3rd Marine Division Tuesday in a ceremony aboard Camp Courtney on Okinawa. (Matt Orr/Stars and Stripes)
Brig. Gen. Mark A. Brilakis, center, passes 'The Fightin' Third' battle colors back to Sgt.  Maj. Bruce Cole, 3rd marine division sergeant major, right, after receiving them from the outgoing Commanding General of 3rd Marine Division, Maj. Gen. James B. Laster. Brilakis took the helm of 3rd Marine Division Tuesday in a ceremony aboard Camp Courtney on Okinawa.
Brig. Gen. Mark A. Brilakis, center, passes 'The Fightin' Third' battle colors back to Sgt. Maj. Bruce Cole, 3rd marine division sergeant major, right, after receiving them from the outgoing Commanding General of 3rd Marine Division, Maj. Gen. James B. Laster. Brilakis took the helm of 3rd Marine Division Tuesday in a ceremony aboard Camp Courtney on Okinawa. (Matt Orr/Stars and Stripes)
Brig. Gen. Mark A. Brilakis gives some quick comments during the change of command ceremony where he took command of 'The Fightin' Third.' He said he looks forward to the coming months leading the Marines and sailors of 3rd Marine Division.
Brig. Gen. Mark A. Brilakis gives some quick comments during the change of command ceremony where he took command of 'The Fightin' Third.' He said he looks forward to the coming months leading the Marines and sailors of 3rd Marine Division. (Matt Orr/Stars and Stripes)
Marines render salutes during the 3rd Marine Division change of command ceremony Tuesday. Maj. Gen. James B. Laster relinquished command of 3rd Marine Division to Brig. Gen. Mark A. Brilakis.
Marines render salutes during the 3rd Marine Division change of command ceremony Tuesday. Maj. Gen. James B. Laster relinquished command of 3rd Marine Division to Brig. Gen. Mark A. Brilakis. (Matt Orr/Stars and Stripes)
Marines stand at parade rest during the 3rd Marine Division change of command ceremony Tuesday. Maj. Gen. James B. Laster relinquished command of 3rd Marine Division to Brig. Gen. Mark A. Brilakis aboard Camp Courtney on Okinawa.
Marines stand at parade rest during the 3rd Marine Division change of command ceremony Tuesday. Maj. Gen. James B. Laster relinquished command of 3rd Marine Division to Brig. Gen. Mark A. Brilakis aboard Camp Courtney on Okinawa. (Matt Orr/Stars and Stripes)
The color guard passes the troops in formation during the change of command for 3rd Marine Division Tuesday. Maj. Gen. James B. Laster relinquished command of 3rd Marine Division to Brig. Gen. Mark A. Brilakis aboard Camp Courtney on Okinawa.
The color guard passes the troops in formation during the change of command for 3rd Marine Division Tuesday. Maj. Gen. James B. Laster relinquished command of 3rd Marine Division to Brig. Gen. Mark A. Brilakis aboard Camp Courtney on Okinawa. (Matt Orr/Stars and Stripes)

CAMP COURTNEY, Okinawa — Maj. Gen. James B. Laster handed over the reins of “The Fightin’ Third” to Brig. Gen. Mark A. Brilakis in a ceremony here Tuesday afternoon.

Commanding the 3rd Marine Division since August 2009, Laster oversaw deployments of sailors and Marines from Okinawa and Hawaii in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Laster will soon head to the war zone, where he will serve as deputy chief of staff for Joint Operations, Headquarters, International Security Assistance Force, Afghanistan, Joint Command.

“It is an honor to give you the battle colors today,” Laster said after handing them over to Brilakis.

“There’s a great staff and a great team, and I look forward to serving with you in the months ahead,” Brilakis said to the men and women of the 3rd Marine Division standing in formation.

Brilakis stays on Okinawa after serving as the deputy commanding general of the III Marine Expeditionary Force and commanding general of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade.

orrm@pstripes.osd.mil

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