PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. --
The Marine Corps Recruit Depot and the Eastern Recruiting Region headquartered here welcomed a new sergeant major Feb. 21, 2014, although his retiring predecessor will not be going far.
Sgt. Maj. Gary Buck retired after 29 years of service to the Marine Corps, handing over the role of Parris Island’s senior enlisted advisor to Sgt. Maj. Paul Archie, a former drill instructor with more than 25 years in uniform.
“You love the Corps; you protect the Corps, and you leave it better than the way you found it,” said Buck. “That’s what I hope to have accomplished over all these years.”
Buck spent much of his career either finding recruits or training them.
He attended recruit training here in July 1985, and returned as a Drill Instructor School student in August 1993. He served as a drill instructor, senior DI and series gunnery sergeant until May 1996.
In June 2005, Buck was promoted to his current rank and transferred to Recruiting Station Harrisburg to serve as the recruiting station sergeant major. In April 2008, Buck transferred to 1st Marine Corps District and assumed the duties as the district sergeant major. Buck received orders to Parris Island in July 2010.
“Many of us wander through this Corps, and we go to formations like this, and you just hope that your service has mattered,” said Brig. Gen. Lori Reynolds, commanding general, during the relief and appointment ceremony. “I want to tell you that, from this general officer, your service has absolutely mattered to our Corps. It has strengthened our Corps. And today, we are a little light in our formation because you have left it.”
Although Buck is retiring from the Marine Corps, he will not be leaving Parris Island. He is slated to work at the depot’s protocol office.
Archie is no stranger to Parris Island – he trained recruits as well as drill instructors here for three years.
Archie attended recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego in 1988, finishing as his platoon’s honor graduate and earning a meritorious promotion to the rank of lance corporal. He reported to Drill Instructor School here in 1998 and, upon graduation, served eight training cycles as a drill instructor, senior DI, series gunnery sergeant and company first sergeant with Alpha, Bravo and Delta Companies in 1st Recruit Training Battalion.
In November 1999, he was promoted to gunnery sergeant and selected to serve as a squad instructor at Drill Instructor School where he subsequently instructed eight classes of future Marine drill instructors over the next two years.
Archie was then transferred to Officer Candidates School in Quantico, Va., in April 2002 where he served for two increments as a platoon sergeant/senior drill instructor.
Archie reported to Parris Island from 2nd Marine Regiment at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C.
“I didn’t take this job to take a couple of years off or to get ready for retirement,” said Archie. “I came here because I’m ready to prove myself … I’ve come to work.”