MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
The winds of change could be felt sweeping across a formation of Marines with Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 3. Before their eyes, they witnessed the induction of a new commanding officer and the commencement of a new location to continue their operations, but their mission of maintaining a combat-ready, expeditionary aviation force capable of swift deployment to the Marine Air Ground Task Force fleet, remained the same.
Distinguished guests, families and friends of VMU-3, also known as “Phantoms,” gathered at Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Gray Field to witness a change of command ceremony, June 18, 2014.
Lt. Col. John D. Thurman, former commanding officer, VMU-3, bid the squadron farewell after more than two years in command, and relinquished all duties and responsibilities to Lt. Col. Brynn H. Schreiner, commanding officer, VMU-3, as a crowd of spectators, among them Brig. Gen. Mark R. Wise, assistant wing commander, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, looked on.
“There hasn’t been a day that I did not look forward to coming to work with [my Marines],” Thurman said. “Everything that I asked you to do, you did it outstanding. Your performance, your conduct and your character are unsurpassed.”
Thurman effectively passed on the unit colors, presented by Sgt. Maj. Jason Perry, sergeant major, VMU-3, to Schreiner, signifying his acceptance of leading the “Phantoms” wherever they will be needed.
Col. Chad Breeden, commanding officer, Marine Air Control Group 38, awarded Thurman a Meritorious Service Medal in recognition of his time with the Marines of VMU-3.
“In my 30 years in the Marine Corps, this has been the pinnacle and the highlight of my service,” Thurman said.
The change of command comes at a time when the squadron has officially designated Marine Corps Base Hawaii Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, as its new headquarters. Marines have already undergone relocation, with the squadron expected to be completely moved by late July.
“I’m looking forward to getting this squadron flying and fighting for the future,” Schreiner said. “Our efforts and dedication to our ground and airborne Marines does not change. “[Perry] and I have been entrusted with a huge responsibility to take care of this squadron. VMU-3 is relatively new, but we’ve got a long and very exciting road ahead of us.