"I wish I could tell you we have an answer to prevent future further suicides in the armed services. We don't," Esper said.
Marine Corps Air Station New River
During two separate Marine Corps change-of-command ceremonies Friday in North Carolina, Col. Ebitz will take the reins.
Last year's hurricanes were particularly destructive for some of the military's most critical bases.
The commanding officer of a North Carolina-based aviation training unit has been relieved of his command, the Navy said.
Thousands of homes remain damaged five months after Hurricane Florence hit Eastern North Carolina Marine Corps installations.
Men and women on Navy ships faced the highest rates of sexual assaults in the military, according to newly released data.
Javier Antonio Garzon, 21, is accused of stabbing David Jacob Rutherford, 24, to death.
Amphibious landings aren't uncommon at Marine Corps installations, but one prompted officials to issue a safety warning.