News: Passing of colors on Okinawa
Story by Pfc. Jovane Holland
CAMP FOSTER, Japan - Maj. Gen. Robert B. Neller relinquished command of the 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, to Brig. Gen. James B. Laster in a change of command ceremony at Camp Hansen, Aug. 20.
The ceremony was executed traditional military style and included a manual of arms in honor of Neller.
During his remarks at the end of the ceremony, Neller praised the efforts of his Marines and staff for the duration of his command.
"You all represent the 7,000 Marines and sailors in this division," he said to the six companies of troops in formation behind him.
Neller said his most significant accomplishments with 3rd Marine Division were not solely his doing, but the doing of those around him as well.
"Individually, I don't think I've had the accomplishments," he said.
"It's been the units, and the Marines within those units, that have made this tour successful," he said.
Neller said being in command of 3rd Marine Division has been his toughest assignment yet.
"Having served with all three MEFs, I can surely say that this is the toughest MEF assignment in the Marine Corps," Neller said.
Neller expressed his pride in working with Marines stationed far from their families and homes.
"We should be proud that we're here," he said. "Even though we're a long way from home, we get the job done."
Okinawa holds many pleasant memories for him and his family, Neller said. "It's impossible to list just one."
"We've had the opportunity and privilege to visit another country, and the value of the local and military friends we've made here is priceless," he said.
Neller's next assignment is as president of Marine Corps University in Quantico, Va.
Neller said he expects the Marines of 3rd Marine Division to continue the hard work, and issued them a challenge.
"Make the decision everyday when you wake up to give 110%," he said. "If you do, I guarantee you'll be recognized for your efforts. If you don't, you'll still be recognized. It's your choice. As for me, I prefer the first."