MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Col. Frank Donovan relinquished his duties as the commanding officer of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit to Col. Scott Benedict at a change of command ceremony held at the II Marine Expeditionary Force headquarters aboard Camp Lejeune, March 21, 2013.
Donovan, who entered the Marine Corps in 1986, took command of the unit May 6, 2011, and is leaving after completing a nine-month deployment, in which he led a 2,300-strong crisis response force throughout European, Central and Africa Commands while embarked with the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group.
During the deployment, the unit participated in major bilateral and multi-national exercises in Morocco and Jordan, adviser-team training for Ugandan forces, small-unit, rugged-terrain training in Djibouti, and combat sustainment training in Kuwait.
The unit was also on-call to provide support to various American embassies throughout the Middle East and North Africa during the numerous uprisings and unrest in the region at the end of last year.
“For the Marines and sailors, you know how I feel about you,” said Donovan as he addressed the formation. “I couldn’t say enough about what you've done. Anywhere we’ve sent you across the world, you’ve excelled, and you’ve represented the nation and the Marine Corps so very well and I’m very proud of you all.”
Donovan will attend Harvard University’s Advanced Business School with follow-on orders to serve as the director of the Expeditionary Warfare School in Quantico, Va.
Benedict received his commission in 1990 and was designated a Naval Aviator and assigned an AH-1W Cobra pilot in 1992. Having served in a myriad of operational assignments, including commanding officer of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367, Benedict looks forward to leading the 24th MEU in their future endeavors.
“It is important on a day like today that we celebrate the leadership, stewardship of Col. Donovan as he steps out - and I would go on to say that this is not about us,” said Benedict. “This ceremony is about the exceptionalism of the Marine Corps and it’s about continuity of command and so for the Marines of the 24th MEU, I look forward to serving with you and serving you as your commander and I look forward to continued success of the 24th MEU.”
Benedict will be responsible for forming the unit through its training cycle and deployment currently scheduled for late 2014.