MIHAIL KOGNALNICEANU AIR BASE, Romania --
Marines with 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division assumed authority of the Black Sea Rotational Force in Eastern Europe, Thursday, August 6.
During the transfer of authority ceremony, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines took charge of BSRF from 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment.
Lt. Col. David Fallon, the outgoing BSRF commanding officer, addressed the guests regarding the mission that the oncoming battalion will now carry in their absence.
“This is a complicated and volatile time for this region,” Fallon said. “Russia’s aggression and influence in Ukraine is real. It has the undivided attention of all of Eastern Europe and they look for reassurance that they do not stand alone. That is precisely what we provide – reassurance. Today is much more than a transfer of mission from one unit to another; it is an affirmation of the United States commitment to the region and reinforces our respect for alliances and partnerships.”
With the transfer of authority comes approximately 500 Marines and sailors with the oncoming battalion, which is slated to conduct eight major exercises, as well as conducting numerous engagements alongside several NATO partners and allies.
“We are eager to build on the success of 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines and take part in this important mission, one that reassures our eastern European partner nations and NATO allies of our longstanding commitment to providing theater security cooperation,” said Lt. Col. Reginald McClam, commanding officer of 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines and oncoming commander of BSRF.
McClam and Sgt. Maj. Paul Costa, the oncoming sergeant major, unfurled the unit’s colors during the ceremony, which Army Col. Ronald Bahr, commanding officer of Black Sea Area Support Team, and Brig. Gen. Adrian Soci, commander for the 9th Mechanized Brigade of Romanian Land Forces, attended. The uncasing of the battalion’s colors and battle streamers symbolized the transfer of authority.
The outgoing rotation of Black Sea Rotational Force conducted 45 military-to-military engagements and nine major exercises, training alongside a total 13 countries.
During his remarks, McClam expressed gratitude toward the departing battalion, whom will be returning to their home station in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
“We are grateful for the measures the Marines and sailors of 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment have taken to prepare us for a successful transition and appreciate the warm welcome from the country of Romania,” McClam said. “We look forward to the next six months of building upon the enduring partnerships that 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines has further solidified.”
Black Sea Rotational Force is a biannual rotation of Marines and sailors that acts as a Security Cooperation Marine Air-Ground Task Force through conducting military-to-military-engagements and enabling the continuation of regional stability, increasing interoperability, and building and maintaining relationships with allied and partner nations.