News: Belleau Wood Regiment receives new commander
Story by Cpl. Ed Galo
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – Marines, sailors, friends and families of 6th Marine Regiment gathered on W.P.T Field aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., February 21, 2013, to watch as command of the regiment was transferred from Col. John R. Shafer to Col. Ryan P. Heritage.
Marines, sailors, friends and families of 6th Marine Regiment gathered on W.P.T Field aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., February 21, 2013, to watch as command of the regiment was transferred from Col. John R. Shafer to Col. Ryan P. Heritage.
Shafer had assumed command of the “Fightin’ Sixth” June 16, 2010. He enlisted in the Marine Corps and reported to Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego in May of 1983. While enlisted he was assigned to Company D, 4th Reconnaissance Battalion. He was promoted through the rank of sergeant before being honorably discharged so that he could become a commissioned officer.
“I think 10-15 years from now, we’re going to look back and see that when RCT-6 deployed that’s what is going to be considered a pivotal time in the history of Afghanistan,” said Shafer while addressing the audience.
“Everything we have done there from 2001 up until the summer of 2012 was based on US and coalition led operations …to set conditions for the Afghan National Security Forces to assume lead and secure their own country,” he continued.
Shafer spoke about the accomplishments made by Regimental Combat Team 6 in Afghanistan such as increasing the size of their battle space from 55,000 square kilometers to over 120,000 square kilometers, while simultaneously downsizing their headquarters from 343 Marines and sailors to 278. In addition, they were responsible for retrograding more than 40,000 pieces of equipment from Afghanistan back to the United States
Once Shafer finished addressing the audience, Heritage took to the stage.
“This has been an incredible welcome and incredible turnover,” Heritage said. “As (my wife and I) admired the regiment from afar, we were impressed by the success that the regiment was having. Rest assured that I will continue to build upon what you have developed and never fall backward, so thank you very much.”