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Lieutenant Col. Aaron Weiss officially receives the 3rd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion colors during a change of command ceremony at Camp Del Mar, Oct. 19.

Photo by Cpl. Monty Burton

3rd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion receives new leader

26 Oct 2010 | Cpl. Monty Burton

The 3rd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion received a new commander during a change of command ceremony at Camp Del Mar, Oct. 21. Lt. Col. Aaron Weiss took the reins of Camp Pendleton, Calif.-based 3rd LAAD from Lt. Col. Michel C. Cancellier.

Cancellier is headed to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar-based Marine Air Control Group 38.

During the ceremony, Cancellier received the Meritorious Service Medal for his service to the battalion. During his time as battalion commander, his unit completed a successful tour to Afghanistan and trained the Bahrain military in preparation of a deployment to support Operation Enduring Freedom.

Weiss, an Omro, Wis., native, comes to 3rd LAAD Bn. after serving as the branch head for homeland defense to the deputy commandant for Plans, Policies, and Operations. He said he's ready for this new assignment.

"I'm most looking forward to working side-by-side with the excellent Marines of 3d LAAD Battalion," Weiss said. The battalion has a long history of success in combat and I'm honored to serve them as their commanding officer."

Weiss said he will focus on keeping his Marines prepared and ready to join the fight on a moment's notice.

"Combat readiness is a must, and we will continue to ensure our Marines are ready to get into the fight," said the Northwestern University graduate. "We are a nation at war, and we need to be prepared to help our nation win this war."

Weiss, who was commissioned as an air defense control officer in 1992, began his career at Marine Air Control Squadron 6, Second Marine Aircraft Wing, MCAS Cherry Point in North Carolina. During his time there he deployed with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit as an air traffic control officer.

Following his time with the MEU, Weiss attended the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., earning a Master's of Science in Systems Management. In 1998 he was assigned to Headquarters Marine Corps as a budget analyst for programs and resources division. While there, he was part of the Armed Forces Inauguration Committee for the 2001 Presidential Inauguration and established the Contingency Cost Cell to fund USMC expeditionary operations in support of the Global War on Terror.

In 2002, Weiss became a Congressional Fellow and served as a legislative assistant to Representative Todd Tiahrt of Kansas for a year. During that time he helped write procurement reform legislation in the House of Representatives. After the fellowship, Weiss served as a northeast Asia plans officer at III Marine Expeditionary Force, Okinawa, Japan. In August 2004, Weiss attended the Marine Corps Command and Staff College in Quantico, Virginia. After graduation in 2005, Weiss became the I Company Commander, Officer Candidate School, responsible for the screening and evaluation of over 260 officer candidates. In July 2008, Weiss transferred to the Pentagon to be the aide-de-camp to the director of Amphibious Warfare at the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.

Weiss's personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (with two stars) and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (with one star).

The battalion is currently decompressing after returning from Afghanistan, Sept. 26.