CAMP PENDLETON — As of late July, the United States Marine Corps base has a new commander.
Brig. Gen. Daniel B. Conley assumed command of Marine Corps Installations West, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton on July 22.
In his new role, Conley is the commander of the base itself as well as the region.
Five Marine Corps bases and stations are in the Southwest: Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Marine Corps Air Station Yuma and Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow.
Marine Corps Installations West also directly supports Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego and Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms.
“I look forward to serving the Marines, sailors, civilians and their families that call our bases home,” Conley said in a statement provided to The Coast News. “I am committed to providing state of the art range and training facilities that sustain the readiness and lethality of America’s expeditionary force in readiness.”
Conley is now responsible for the combat readiness of the Marines he oversees. He is also responsible for providing training opportunities, facilities and other support for Marines, sailors and their families.
“I am dedicated to strengthening relationships with community members, leaders and organizations in the Orange, Riverside and San Diego communities,” Conley said.
Originally from Falmouth, Massachusetts, Conley was commissioned in 1988 following his graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy. After that, he began training to become a Marine Corps logistics officer.
Conley graduated the US Marine Corps Command and Staff College and has previously served as commander of Marine Wing Support Squadron 274, Marine Wing Support Group 27 and 3d Marine Logistics Group. He has served at bases on both the East and West coasts, in Iwakuni, Japan and in Mons, Belgium.
“Camp Pendleton was my first duty station,” Conley said. “I’ve lived, worked and deployed from here for nine years of my career so far, and I am excited and thankful for the opportunity to serve here as the Commanding General of the Marine Corps Installations West-Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton.”
Conley deployed during the Gulf War (codenamed Operation Desert Shield by the U.S. government) in 1991, and multiple times throughout the Global War on Terrorism (Operation Enduring Freedom) and the Iraq War (Operation Iraqi Freedom).
In July 2016, he deployed to Afghanistan to serve as commander of Bagram Air Field and as deputy commander for the U.S. National Support Element — Afghanistan.
Conley replaces Brig. Gen. Kevin. J. Killea, who officially retired from the Marine Corps on Aug. 1. According to Camp Pendleton communications officer Capt. Luke Weaver, Killea “is pursuing career opportunities in the civilian world.”
During his retirement ceremony in late June, Killea told an audience that included his fellow Marines, family and Rep. Mike Levin (D-San Juan Capistrano) how he figured out what it meant to be a Marine.
“I think we all joined kind of for the sense of adventure of it all initially,” Killea said. “But once you deploy, especially if you deploy in harm’s way, you quickly figure out that it’s about defending our way of life and supporting the flag that represents everything that’s great about this nation, not what’s wrong with it.”
Killea, who served for 31 years, also said the people and the mission itself, which for him was supporting “that Marine on the ground,” also define what it means to be a Marine.
Photo Caption: U.S. Marine Brig. Gen. Daniel Conley, center, signs documents for his assumption of command for Marine Corps Installations West, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. U.S. Marine Corps. Photo courtesy of Cpl. Dylan Chagnon
Samantha Nelson covers Oceanside, Camp Pendleton and the decommissioning San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. She earned her journalism degree from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, and has previously reported for The Athens Messenger in Athens, Ohio, and USA Today in McLean, Virginia. Follow her on Twitter: @samm1son