MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Lieutenant Col. Thomas J. Gordon relinquished command of 1st Tank Battalion
to Lt. Col. Timothy Barrick July 29 during a change of command ceremony at the Combat Center’s
Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Gray Field.
Sergeant Maj. Conrad Potts, 1st Tanks’ sergeant major, said he has had a working history with the incoming commanding officer and looks forward to working alongside him again.
“He was my platoon commander back in 1992,” said Potts, from Louisville, Ky. “I was his platoon sergeant back then in 2nd Tank Battalion at Camp Lejeune.”
Potts said Gordon will be missed around the battalion, but he is sure the new commander will fill his shoes and continue the battalion’s storied, successful journey.
“It’s all part of the job,” Potts said. “We’ve been in command together for about two years, and he really cared about his Marines.
“Lieutenant Col. Barrick is definitely getting a great group of Marines,” he said. “[Barrick] will take this battalion to greater heights.”
Barrick, the former executive officer of the battalion in 2006, said he is very pleased to return to the unit and looks forward to leading the Marines.
“Tank battalion is the armored fist of the 1st Marine Division,” said Barrick, who claims the whole state of California as home. “The commandant talks about the Marine Corps being a two-fisted fighter – and we’re the armored fist in that fight.
“There’s no better place to be than 1st Tanks,” he said.
Gordon is saying goodbye to the hard working Marines and sailors of the battalion and heading back to his hometown of Boston as Security Fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“I could stand out here and tell you about the battalion’s exploits and success over the past two years, but I think that would probably come across as a little self serving,” Gordon said. “It’s not me, it’s them. The successes of this battalion belong to them.
“I’ve been blessed with some truly remarkable Marines,” he said. “My mentors always used to tell me – just play the cards you’ve been dealt – and I was dealt a straight flush. The Marines and [noncommissioned officers] out there are the best I’ve ever seen.”
The battalion’s new commander, and soon to be new sergeant major in the coming months, will be training their Marines for their next assignment when some of their Marines return from Afghanistan toward the end of the year.