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Lieutenant Col. Christeon C. Griffin, the outgoing commanding officer of 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, hands the battalion colors to Lt. Col. Robert C. Rice, the battalion's incoming commanding officer, during a change of command ceremony at the Camp San Mateo parade deck here, June 26, 2013. The passing of the colors signified the transfer of authority and responsibility from one commander to the next. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Jacob H. Harrer)

Photo by Sgt. Jacob Harrer

Darkhorse battalion receives new commanding officer

28 Jun 2013 | Sgt. Jacob Harrer

Marines and sailors with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, received a new commanding officer during a change of command ceremony at the Camp San Mateo parade deck here, June 25.

Lieutenant Col. Christeon C. Griffin relinquished command of Darkhorse battalion to Lt. Col. Robert C. Rice, who previously served in the Plans, Policy and Operations office at Headquarters Marine Corps.

Rice also served as the executive officer for 3rd Bn., 5th Marines from 2007 through 2008, where he deployed to Fallujah, Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. As the new commanding officer, Rice will soon lead his Marines as the battalion landing team for the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit in Okinawa, Japan.

Rice said his leadership philosophy is based upon three points: first is to be ready to respond to crisis, second is taking care of Marines, and third is maintaining the high standards of the Marine Corps and building the individual character of the Marines. The most important priority for Rice is to maintain the readiness of the battalion.

“We need to be ready to respond to today’s crisis with today’s force,” said Rice, a native of Richland, Wash. “Closely behind that is taking care of the Marines and taking care of their personal and professional needs to make sure that they’re ready to support us and accomplish the mission that comes our way.”

During his tenure as commanding officer, Griffin led the battalion during a deployment with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit to the Western Pacific. The Marines conducted theater security cooperation exercises in East Timor, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

After departing the battalion, Griffin will attend the College of Naval Staff and Command at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I.

Griffin said the best part of his job was watching junior Marines develop into strong, capable noncommissioned officers. The legacy of the battalion compelled him and his Marines to do their best and carry on the traditions of their predecessors.

“The unit has an extraordinary history of distinguished service in combat,” said Griffin, a native of Mims, Fla. “That weighs on you to live up to that. You want to live up to the reputation that was built for you by those who have gone before. Every day it’s something that I think about.”