CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Lieutenant Colonel Damon K. Burrows assumed command of 9th Communications Battalion, I Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, from Lt. Col Matthew R. Simmons during a change of command ceremony aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, June 4, 2015.
The ceremony represents the passing down and continuation of a legacy. It includes precise formations, marching drill and rifle handling, as well as the passing of the unit’s colors from the outgoing Marine to the new commanding officer.
During the ceremony, Col. James H. Herrera, the commanding officer of I MEF Headquarters Group, spoke about the impact and accomplishments of the Marines throughout the last few years.
“This is the largest formation we’ve got in MHG, you can feel their presence from the Middle East into Africa and the Pacific,” said Herrera. “Under Lieutenant Colonel Simmons, they were able to not only maintain their high operational tempo, but also ratchet it up.”
Herrera thanked Simmons and his family for their dedication and sacrifices and expressed his confidence for the future of the battalion with Burrows.
“We definitely look forward to having you use your skills, your insights and everything that you’ve learned,” said Herrera.
Simmons, who served as the battalion’s commanding officer beginning in May 2013, recounted numerous examples of the excellence of the Marines who served with him, including their efforts in Operation Enduring Freedom, Exercise Balikatan 2015 and the establishment of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade.
“In short, these professionals delivered top notch capability time and time again,” said Simmons.
He also explained those in attendance why working with the Marines is so important to him personally.
“It’s all about being a part of something that’s bigger than yourself, something that’s more important than yourself,” said Simmons. “That’s why I spend so much time here making sure that these Marines are taken care of and are ready to go to war. It’s an important responsibility and it is the job of a lifetime.”
Simmons first reported to 9th Communications Battalion in 1997 as a lieutenant and returned in 2013 as the battalion commander. Now he passes that responsibility to Burrows with pride.
“I just know you’re going to take 9th Communications Battalion to even greater heights,” said Simmons. “I look forward to hearing about all the great things the battalion is doing over the next few years.”
Burrows, who served most recently as the assistant chief of staff, G-6 for the 1st Marine Logistics Group, I MEF, expressed his pride, gratitude and eagerness to work with the battalion.
“I want to thank all those who came for your support of the battalion and your encouragement to [my wife] and I as we take the helm of what is undeniably the premier communication battalion of the Marine Corps,” said Burrows.
Burrows explained that the battalion was unique not only for its size but for its position in “the war-fighting MEF” and the opportunities that presents.
Before his previous assignment at 1st MLG, Burrows served as the Theater Cyberspace Network Operations Chief for the Cyber Operations Directorate at North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command. He said that moving forward, 9th Communication Battalion will take the lead in cyber warfare and defense.
In this new chapter, 9th Communications Battalion continues to stay ready and relevant to ensure mission accomplishment by establishing and defending command and control capabilities.