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31st MEU sword of office changes hands

12 Jun 2009 | Lance Cpl. Michael A. Bianco

Sgt. Maj. Daniel Anderson handed over the reigns of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit sergeant major position to Sgt. Maj. Jayme F. Winders during a post and relief ceremony at The Palms, June 9.

Anderson, who has served with the MEU since 2007, will report to Separations Company, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. but is slated to retire at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) San Diego, in September.

"I was told when you do 30 years the last two are the most challenging. That wasn’t the case for me, and I can attribute that to the outstanding leadership and personnel at the MEU,” Anderson said.

Winders assumed his duties at the MEU after serving as sergeant major for 12th Marine Corps District (MCD), Western Recruiting Region, Marine Corps Recruiting Command (MCRC).

According to his official military biography, Winders stepped on the yellow footprints at MCRD San Diego, beginning his career as a U.S. Marine in December 1984. Upon graduation, he was meritoriously promoted to private first class. 

He then reported to Marine Corps Engineer School at Courthouse Bay, Camp Lejeune, N.C., and after completion of training, he received orders to 3rd Force Service Support Group (FSSG).

While serving with 3rd FSSG he was selected as the Marine of the Quarter and was meritoriously promoted to the rank of corporal in October 1985.  Shortly thereafter, Winders attended the Non-Commissioned Officer's (NCO) Leadership Course where he was recognized as the honor graduate. In May 1986 he was meritoriously promoted to the rank of sergeant. 

In September 1986 he was accepted to Marine Security Guard (MSG) School, Quantico, Va. Winders served as a watch stander and assistant detachment commander during his MSG tours assigned to the American Embassies of Monrovia, Liberia and Quito, Ecuador.

After completion of MSG duty, Winders reported to 8th Engineer Support Battalion (ESB), 2nd FSSG in July 1989, where he served as the utilities quality control chief and platoon sergeant. During his tour, he attended Journeyman School and again earned honor graduate status.

As a staff sergeant, Winders deployed with Brigade Service Support Group (BSSG) 4 in support of Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Eastern Exit in Mogadishu, Somalia from August 1990 to April 1991. Upon his return he attended the Staff NCO Academy Career Course where he was the academic honor graduate.

The following year Winders received orders to Drill Instructor School at MCRD Parris Island, S.C. and graduated at the top of his class. During his two-year tour, he served as a drill instructor, senior drill instructor and academics instructor.

In June 1994 Winders transferred to Marine Wing Support Squadron (MWSS) 171, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, and was promoted to the rank of gunnery sergeant in March of 1995. While with MWSS-171, he served as the squadron gunnery sergeant, utilities chief and utilities officer for the Engineer Division, and deployed to Thailand, Korea, and Mt. Fuji, Japan.

In 1995 he attended the SNCO Academy’s Advanced Course and received the fifth honor graduate award of his career.

In July 1997 he reported for duty as the Assistant Marine Officer Instructor (AMOI) for the University of San Diego and San Diego State University, and in 1998 though still a gunnery sergeant, served as the first sergeant for Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program (MECEP) Preparatory School.

Winders was promoted to the rank of first sergeant in August 1999 and reported to 1st Marine Division (MarDiv) that same month. As a first sergeant he served with Company B, and Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion (CEB) from June 1999 until June 2001. He then transferred to 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion (AAB), 1st MarDiv. He then completed a six-month Unit Deployment Program (UDP) to Combat Assault Battalion (CAB), 3rd MarDiv with A Co., 3rd AAB, Okinawa, Japan in 2002.

In 2003 Winders deployed in support of operations Southern Watch and Iraqi Freedom with E Co., 3rd AAB, attached to Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines. Upon returning from Iraq he was assigned as H&S Company, 3d AAB, first sergeant from June 2003 until his promotion to sergeant major in December 2003.

Winders first assignment as a sergeant major was with BLT 1st Battalion 4th Marines. While serving there, the battalion landing team attached to the 11th MEU and the unit deployed in support of OIF in May 2004.

In April 2005 he reported for duty as sergeant major for Recruiting Station (RS) Salt Lake City.  After serving with RS Salt Lake City for two years, he was selected to serve as the 12th MCD sergeant major, headquartered at MCRD San Diego.  He held this post until his current assignment as the 31st MEU Sergeant Major.

Winders' personal decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with one gold star, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with one gold star, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and the Combat Action Ribbon with one gold star.

Winders said he is excited to begin his time with the MEU and is anxious to begin contributing to its great success.

“I was fortunate to become a part of a unit that has a great reputation,” Winders said. “Past success of this unit has given me high expectations of all the Marines and sailors.”

Winders attributed his success to his wife Lisa.

“I would particularly like to thank my wife for all her love and for supporting the decision to come to Okinawa and the MEU,” he said. “I couldn’t ask for a better Marine spouse to go through life and my career with.”
31st Marine Expeditionary Unit