MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Lt. Col. James H. Bain, formally introduced himself to the 600 Marines of 3rd Combat Engineer Battalion as their new commanding officer during an assumption of command ceremony aboard the Combat Center Aug. 21.
The battalion was recently reactivated in October 2008, after being deactivated in 1995. The battalion fell under 1st Tank Battalion administratively as they waited for a commanding officer.
“When standing up a battalion, the challenge is always going to be filling that battalion with personnel,” said Sgt. Maj. James D. Walsh, the battalion sergeant major and a Rochester, N.Y., native. “Combat engineer officers are a fairly rare breed in the Corps to begin with and finding the one who would be a perfect fit for a newly-reactivated battalion just took some time.”
During the ceremony, Bain, a Shreveport, La., native, thanked 1st Tank Battalion for their support. He also spoke to his Marines and described a brief history of 3rd CEB.
“Once again 3rd CEB is being activated,” he said jokingly. “It is like a cockroach, you just can’t get rid of it.”
He continued to say he was proud of the Marines he will lead, and impressed with their fortitude to fight in the war without a commanding officer to lead them. Since being activated, 3rd CEB has sent elements to deploy with various units from the Combat Center to Iraq and Afghanistan. Bain plans to work with his Marines so the entire battalion can deploy at once.
On of the reasons Bain was selected to become 3rd CEB’s new commanding officer was because of his background in the engineering field. Bain entered the Marine Corps as a combat engineer officer and served with 8th Engineer Support Battalion, where he held various billets throughout the unit.
Bain had deployed to the Mediterranean and Africa and participated in Operations Silver Wake in Albania, Southern Watch in Iraq, Resolute Response in Kenya and Tanzania, Joint Guardian in Kosovo, Allied Forces in Yugoslavia and Joint Task Force Noble Anvil in Kosovo.
Bain also deployed to Iraq in 2003 with 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, where he served as the commanding officer of Company A and later Engineer Support Co.
In late 2007 and early 2008, Bain commanded a provisional infantry task force in Iraq’s Al Anbar province, conducting security and stability operations. When he returned from deployment he was assigned as the force engineer with U.S. Marine Forces Command in Norfolk, Va. This is where he was chosen to become the commanding officer of 3rd CEB.
Many of the leaders in 3rd CEB are excited to begin working with him and learn from his experiences as they prepare for their future in the Marine Corps, Walsh said.