MARINE CORPS CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, held a change of command ceremony aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., June 19, 2014.
During the ceremony, Lt. Col. Gilbert D. Juarez relinquished command of the Highlanders to Lt. Col. Christian M. Rankin.
Major Gen. Lawrence Nicholson, Commanding General, 1st Marine Division expressed how proud he was of Juarez in regards to his leadership and in terms of preparing LAR Bn. for future operations.
“The mission at LAR Bn. is unique,” said Nicholson. “We can use them as an infantry Bn., we can use them as a [reconnaissance] Bn., we can take platoons as [detachments] or we can use you as an entire organization. Very few units have the same flexibility, ability and operational flexibility that is provided by the LAR Bn.”
Nicholson said when Juarez took over the battalion., he successfully overcame the challenge of taking the unit and making it better.
He also took the time to welcome the new commanding officer to the unit and described the hard work Rankin went through to earn the opportunity, trust and confidence from himself and the leadership in the Marine Corps to take over the colors from Juarez.
Juarez said goodbye to his Marines and welcomed their new commanding officer.
“You need to continue to believe what this unit is about and what you are capable of,” said Juarez. “You are far more capable of doing things than you believe. Like I said when I first got here: I trust you, I believe in you and I love you. I hope that you continue that with each other long after I’m gone.”
He said he is excited to begin his journey at the helm of the battalion.
“I’m jealous, not of the command but of the days he will get to spend with the Marines,” said Juarez. “It’s an incredible family; a true clan. I feel very fortunate that he’s coming in to take over this family and I wish all the best to him and [his wife.]”
Rankin stood before the Highlanders as their commanding officer for the first time.
“I now stand proud to count myself as one of you,” Rankin said. “I look forward to serving beside you for as long as due fortune allows. I thank you for all you have done and all you will do for our nation, our Corps and each other.”