MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Virginia -- Maj. Gen. James W. Bierman, Jr. took over responsibilities as Commanding General (CG) of Marine Corps Recruiting Command (MCRC) from Maj. Gen. Paul J. Kennedy during a change of command ceremony June 7, 2018.
“I have the most qualified replacement,” Kennedy said. “[Maj.] Gen. Bierman is the guy who can take us to the next level.”
MCRC upholds the Marine Corps' promise of making Marines by conducting operations to recruit qualified individuals for enlistment or commissioning into the Marine Corps' active or reserve components. The command’s goal is to attain the assigned total force personnel requirements in accordance with the fiscal year’s accessions strategy. Additionally, MCRC formally trains new recruiters and officer selection officers and serves as the occupational field sponsor and monitoring command for 565 career recruiters.
“I’ve absolutely been fabulously served in my time [at MCRC] by this tiny staff who have worked tirelessly,” said Kennedy.
With more than 33 years of service, Kennedy served as an infantry officer in multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, for which he earned a Purple Heart, Legion of Merit and a Bronze Star Medal for valor. His recruiting experience includes three years as the commanding officer of Recruiting Station San Francisco, and he assumed command of MCRC on December 17, 2015. Kennedy is now the legislative assistant to Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Robert Neller, where he will contribute to facilitating an understanding between the Corps and Congress to support Neller’s priorities and requirements.
“[Kennedy] was relentless in his advocacy for [MCRC],” said Neller, who was in attendance at the ceremony.
During Kennedy’s tenure, he surpassed MCRC’s contracting and shipping missions, with over 92 thousand men and women who enlisted and commissioned into the Marine Corps. Roughly 72 percent of enlistees who shipped to recruit training scored in the upper half of the written military entrance exam, well in excess of the established Department of Defense benchmark of 60 percent. Kennedy also developed and implemented the direct accession of women into combat roles which had previously been open exclusively to men.
To support the recruiting mission, Kennedy developed a variety of partnerships with sports organizations, such as USA Rugby, USA Wrestling and Crossfit. The Marine Corps uses these relationships to reach out to students and professional athletes, many of whom share the same warrior traits as Marines, while teaching the values of honor, courage and commitment. The partnerships allow Marines to attend training and education seminars, college championships and high school tournaments to positively impact prospects’ and key influencers’ performance in their sports and drive home the message that service as a Marine is an aspirational, viable career option.
Other outreaches include MCRC’s City Partnership initiative, which Kennedy said are a means to reconnect with America and highlight cities that exemplify Marine values. The City Partnership activations kicked off in Detroit in 2017, with plans to partner with five more cities.
Kennedy also oversaw the development and implementation of several new Marine Corps commercials presenting the new Battles Won brand idea, a framework for future advertising campaigns meant to convey the many challenges Marines face while explaining, “who we are and what we do.” One commercial, titled “Battle Up,” was the first Marine commercial to feature a woman as the main protagonist.
Bierman has served for over 30 years in the Persian Gulf, the Mediterranean, Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan. He commanded Recruiting Station Richmond, Virginia, and Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. He has earned the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star and the Meritorious Service Medal.
“I’m all in,” said Bierman. “I’m glad to be [at MCRC] and ready to make mission.”