1st Intel Bn. welcomes new commanding officer

1 Jul 2011 | Cpl. Salvador R. Moreno

1st Intelligence Battalion welcomed its new commander during a change of command ceremony July 1.

Lt. Col. Victor Bunch relinquished command to Lt. Col. Dawn Alonso. Bunch, who was commissioned in May 1991, will report to I Marine Expeditionary Force G-2 to serve as the operations officer.

Bunch acknowledged the battalion for a job well done under his command during the ceremony.

“It has been a distinct honor, privilege and pleasure to have been your commanding officer,” he said at the ceremony. “I can’t thank you enough for that.”

Bunch recently completed a year-long tour to Afghanistan with I Marine Expeditionary Force where he served as the analysis center director for Regional Command Southwest. Bunch led the history-making battalion when it became the first intelligence battalion to deploy to Afghanistan for a year.

“Lt. Col. Bunch did a phenomenal job,” said Maj. Michael Wilbur, 1st Intel. Bn. executive officer. “His previous experiences definitely set this battalion up for success. It’s been a great experience working for him.”

Alonso hopes to continue the success the battalion has demonstrated over the past deployment. 

“My expectations are to perform just as brilliant as they have in the past,” Alonso said. “I have full faith and confidence these Marines are up for it.”

Alonso, a Penn State graduate, was assigned as the operations officer with I MEF prior to her new assignment.  She plans to build on the successes of the battalion over the past year.

“To the Marines of 1st Intelligence Bn., it is my honor and privilege to be standing here for you today,” she said during the ceremony. “You have given 120 percent in everything you do, and as your commander I promise I will give you and your family 120 percent, and provide you everything you need to accomplish the next mission and challenge. Semper Fi.”

Alonso’s personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with gold star, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.