Marine Barracks Washington, D.C. --
Lt. Gen. Dennis Hejlik, commanding general of Marine Forces Europe and Marine Corps Forces Command in Norfolk, Va., bade farewell to the Corps at his retirement ceremony at Marine Barracks Washington July 23.
Hejlik served as both an enlisted Marine and infantry officer during his more than 40 years of military service.
“I’m going to miss Gen. Hejlik,” said Gen. James F. Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps. “I don’t know of any general officer that is better thought of and more respected than Denny Hejlik.”
Hejlik enlisted into the Marine Corps in 1968 and reached the rank of sergeant before accepting an honorable discharge in 1972. He then earned a degree at Minnesota State University and came back to the Corps as a second lieutenant in 1975.
Throughout his commissioned career, Hejlik has held command at platoon, company, battalion and brigade levels. He served in Vietnam, Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom, but he is perhaps best known for being the first commander of Marine Corps Special Operations Command.
Hejlik, who is a native of Garner, Iowa, was awarded a Distinguished Service Medal during the ceremony for his exceptional service to the United States of America. His other awards include a Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, and a Combat Action Ribbon.
“I’ve never been cold, never been hungry, never been wet and I’ve never had a bad day because I was a Marine,” Hejlik said. “It has been a true pleasure to be a United States Marine and in the end, I’d do it all over again. Semper Fidelis.”