Marines' Parris Island gets first female commander
By the CNN Wire Staff
UPDATED: 10:08 PM EDT 06.18.11
Parris Island, the South Carolina military installation that has trained thousands of young Marines, has its first female commander.
Brig. Gen. Lori Reynolds took over at a change-of-command ceremony Friday at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island.
"It's not about male or female, it's about highly qualified officers," Capt. Bernadette Newman told CNN Savannah affiliate WSAV. "The Marine Corps gets it right. It's a performance-based society, and if you look at General Reynolds' bio, she has more than enough experience to add value to this, so it is exciting."
Reynolds recently returned from a year-long deployment to Afghanistan, where she was the first woman in the Marine Corps to command units in a war zone.
The 1st Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group took a base that initially fed, housed and equipped more than 10,000 Marines, and built it up to handle the troop surge of an additional 10,000 Marines and sailors into Afghanistan, the Corps said.
According to news reports, Reynolds did not mention her gender at the ceremony, and declined to make comments afterward.
"As her career progressed, she had different leadership opportunities to mold and mentor officers and enlisted of all ranks, and now she's here where she has the whole gamut of officers and enlisted, and for us it's a great opportunity," Newman told WSAV.
"She truly knows from start to finish the Marines, and she knows every level."
Reynolds was commissioned in the Marine Corps in May 1986 after graduating from the United States Naval Academy.
She replaces Brig. Gen. Frederick M. Padilla, who received an Okinawa assignment.
Parris Island, near Beaufort, has trained enlisted late Marines since 1915. Enlisted female training began there in February 1949. Reynolds' recruiting area includes the eastern half of the United States.