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Lt. Col. Matthew R. Simmons, incoming commanding officer of 9th Communications Battalion, I Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, delivers his speech during a change of command ceremony at Camp Pendleton, Calif., May 23. Simmons relieved Lt. Col. Ahmed T. Williamson as the commanding officer of 9th Comm. Bn., and received the unit's guidon to commence his duties.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Scott Reel

New commander of 9th Communications Battalion assumes role with pride

23 May 2013 | Lance Cpl. Scott Reel

Lt. Col. Matthew R. Simmons relieved Lt. Col. Ahmed T. Williamson as the commanding officer of 9th Communications Battalion, I Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, during a change of command ceremony at Camp Pendleton, May 23.

During the ceremony, Williamson passed 9th Comm. Bn’s guidon to Simmons, signifying his relinquishing of command and Simmons’ new responsibilities.

Simmons assumed command of 9th Comm. Bn. and spoke a promise to the commanding officer of I MHG, Col. James H. Herrera.

“Col. Hererra, sir, we’ve talked a few times, I’ve received your guidance,” Simmons said. “I’ll take care of our Marines and I will make sure this battalion is at a high state of operational readiness.”

Col. Steven M. Hanson, former commanding officer of I MHG, praised Williamson’s abilities as a leader while making 9th Comm. Bn. as polished as it is.

“Mission and Marines, those are what a CO’s (commanding officer’s) responsibility is and that’s what Will did absolutely perfectly,” said Col. Hanson. “9th Comm. Bn., at least from my perspective, is the gold standard of the MHG … that’s a testament to the leadership of Lt. Col. Williamson.”

During his speech, Williamson welcomed and expressed his confidence in Simmons’ abilities as a commander alongside his wife, Teresa.

“They are the right family to continue to lead this battalion and he is well regarded and respected within our communications community and I know you are going to take this to greater heights,” Williamson said. 

Simmons addressed his new unit with pride and excitement during his speech as their new commanding officer.

“Marines and Sailors of 9th Comm. Bn., I am truly honored and privileged to stand before you once again and proudly call myself a 9th Comm. Bn., Marine. We have a long and storied history. I look forward to writing additional chapters with you in the coming years.”