News: 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance welcomes new commander
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - After a two-year tour serving as 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion’s commanding officer, leading the battalion to Afghanistan and back, Lt. Col. George C. Schreffler relinquished his position to Lt. Col. Gilbert W. Juarez in a change of command ceremony here July 20.
In accordance with Marine Corps tradition, Schreffler handed the battalion’s colors over to his successor, signifying that the battalion is now under the charge of Juarez.
During his tour of duty as the battalion commander, Schreffler and 1st LAR deployed to Khan Neshin District, one of the most southern positions Marines operate in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
There, his Marines patrolled on foot and in light armored reconnaissance vehicles through the desert terrain and farmlands – vigilant of enemy activity or influences. The villages on their beat stretched out across the Helmand River and were several miles north of the Pakistan border.
Teams of Marines under his charge also trained, mentored and provided guidance to Afghan security forces in the district. Their mission was to help Afghan police and soldiers operate independently from coalition forces.
Schreffler said the days he spent patrolling alongside his Marines on the forward edge of the battlefield in Afghanistan were among the most memorable during his time as the battalion commander.
“They’re all extraordinarily dedicated to the United States, to the Marine Corps, and to the mission the Corps gave them to help Afghanistan,” said Schreffler, a native of Harrisburg, Pa.
“I’m leaving behind 1,100 Marines and sailors who want to be here, who work hard every single day to be proficient in their occupational specialties, and would do anything the Marine Corps and the United States asks.”
As the Marines and sailors of 1st LAR stood in their service uniforms at attention during the ceremony, many more gathered to show respect to the battalion’s outgoing and incoming commanders.
Sergeant Maj. Donald W. Burris, 1st LAR’s sergeant major, said the commanding officer of the battalion is expected to know infantry warfare tactics and maintain the standards 1st LAR already has. He said Shreffler did an outstanding job leading his Marines into Afghanistan and was extremely efficient in planning counterinsurgency operations.
Burris, a native of Glendive, Mont., said he’s very pleased to welcome another professional who has commanded a company of Marines with 1st LAR and 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion in the past.
Juarez is a native of San Diego and is coming from a tour of duty serving at III Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Smedley D. Butler, Okinawa, Japan. He said he’s very humbled and honored for his new position in the Marine Corps and looks forward to keeping the standards high at 1st LAR.
“The commanding general’s guidance is what I’ll be focused on,” Juarez said. “He wants us to be a warfighting, combined-arms-capable unit – capable of responding to contingencies. At the same time, caring for the families of the Marines of the battalion. It’s mission accomplishment and troop welfare.”
Date Posted:07.20.2012 20:37
Location:MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, CA, US
Hometown:GLENDIVE, MT, US
Hometown:HARRISBURG, PA, US
Hometown:SAN DIEGO, CA, US
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