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Zilmer to hand over the III MEF reins

Date Posted: 2009-09-17

The three-star general who led III Marine Expeditionary Force through troubled times triggered by rape allegations against a Marine gunnery sergeant two years ago is handing over the command in Friday afternoon ceremonies.

Lt. Gen. Richard C. Zilmer will relinquish his duties as commanding general of the III MEF at a 4:30 p.m. ceremony tomorrow at Camp Foster. Zilmer walked a fine line between his Marines and the local community after a Marine gunnery sergeant was accused of luring a 14-year-old junior high school girl onto his Harley Davidson motorcycle from in front of Koza Music Town in Okinawa City, then taking her to his home and raping her. The case was ultimately dismissed by Japanese prosecutors when the girl and her family declined prosecution, but Zilmer had put the military command in Okinawa on lock down for a period to calm the furor and get GIís to reflect on behavior expectations in the community.

Assuming command of the III Marine Expeditionary Force is Lt. Gen. Terry G. Robling, who comes to Okinawa after commanding the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at Marine Corps Air Station at Miramar, California. Zilmerís next assignment is deputy commandant for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Headquarters Marine Corps, Quantico, Virginia.

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