CAMP PENDLETON, CA, UNITED STATES
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif.- The Marines and sailors of Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division, welcomed their new commanding officer during a change of command ceremony here, June 29.
Lieutenant Col. Thomas B. Savage relinquished command of the battalion to Lt. Col. Joseph J. Russell during the ceremony.
Savage first assumed command of the battalion in February of this year.
“There is nothing better than leading Marines,” Savage said. “I have made great friends here and I learned a lot. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
Prior to his service in Headquarters Bn., Savage served as commanding officer of 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, where he deployed with his Marines to Sangin, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Major Gen. Ronald Bailey, commanding general, 1st Marine Division, spoke about Savage during the ceremony.
“I knew Lt. Col. Thomas Savage was the Marine at the right time to move this great battalion forward and do great things,” Bailey said. “He is a great leader. He cares about his Marines and he makes things happen.”
Savage will be going to the Naval War College in New Port, R.I.
Russell has served in the Marine Corps since 1988. He has held billets in a variety of positions across the Marine Corps.
He began as a platoon commander serving with 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion, moving on to become the company executive officer, and later, the company commander. He deployed in support of Operation Desert Storm and Operation Restore Hope.
Since then, Russell has held billets at Fort Knox, Ky., Camp Lejuene, N.C. and Newport, R.I.
His most recent position prior to taking command of Headquarters Bn. was serving with the United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command, United States Forces Korea, holding billets as deputy for the Commander’s Initiative Group, executive officer to the commander and plans branch chief for the Future Operations Division.
“I couldn’t be more honored to be a member of this unit,” Russell said to the assembled Marines of Headquarters Bn. “I look forward to learning, working and excelling with every one of you. Its great to be back in the 1st Marine Division leading a unit like this.”
Russell’s personal decorations include the Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal and Combat Action Ribbon.
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