By Master Sgt. John Gordinier
North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) hosted a command senior enlisted leader change of responsibility ceremony where U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) Sgt. Maj. Paul McKenna transferred responsibility to USMC Sgt. Maj. James Porterfield, June 29.
U.S. Air Force Gen. Glen VanHerck, NORAD and USNORTHCOM Commander, officiated the ceremony.
It was 1986 when young sports enthusiast Paul Mckenna decided to leave his hometown of Trenton, New Jersey, to join the U.S. Marine Corps and continue his love of being part of a winning team and overcoming challenges.
“Growing up in the great state of New Jersey, I was always a part of an athletic team such as football, wrestling, and baseball,” said McKenna. “The pride of belonging to a team led me to the U.S. Marine Corps, and my years have been spent well serving the greatest fighting force in the world--the varsity team for the greatest nation on Earth.”
Reflecting on his more than three decade-long career, the sergeant major said he had so many wonderful memories of service that it was impossible to single out one experience as being the best or his favorite. He said his greatest takeaway though is reflecting on the memories of the men and women he served with.
“Most memorable for me is the opportunity to serve alongside America’s greatest treasure … her sons and daughters,” said McKenna. “I will truly miss the camaraderie and relationships I’ve obtained over my 35 years of service, but I look forward to retirement so I can reconnect with family and friends and spend more time with my two grandkids.”
As McKenna prepares for retirement in Florida, Porterfield arrives to NORAD and USNORTHCOM from Camp Pendleton, Calif., where he was the senior enlisted leader for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.
NORAD is a bi-national military command between the United States and Canada, charged with the missions of aerospace warning, aerospace control and maritime warning in the defense of North America. USNORTHCOM defends the homeland by deterring, detecting and defeating threats to the United States as well as conducts security cooperation activities with allies and partners, and supports civil authorities.