MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (May 11, 2009) --
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet," said Juliet Capulet in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. But what you are about to read isn’t a Shakespearean tale, but rather, that of two Marine special operations units who have changed in name, but not in operational effectiveness.
Marston Pavilion was filled to capacity May 11, leaving standing room only. Those in attendance witnessed Company A and Company B of the Marine Special Operations Advisor Group, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command be re-designated as 3d and 4th Marine Special Operations Battalions.
“This is a historic day for MARSOC as we move forward and open a new chapter in our history,” said Col. Daniel R. Masur, MSOAG commanding officer. “This is a great day in which Alpha and Bravo Company, who have been acting as battalions for some time now, are officially designated as such.”
This re-designation of the MSOAG companies is apart of a larger effort by MARSOC to standardize all four of MARSOC’s battalions.
Company A and Company B, now 3d and 4th MSOB, are responsible for training and deploying teams to assist foreign military forces with training and advisor support to facilitate U.S. objectives in the campaign against violent extremists. Company A, which was officially formed in March 2006, maintained a focus on Africa and Europe, while Company B, formed in April 2007, focused on the Pacific and South American regions. The names have changed, but the missions have stayed the same.
“We look forward to the future now with 3d and 4th [MSOB] being an integral piece of MARSOC and SOCOM, and meeting all the challenges ahead,” said Masur.
After the re-designation ceremony, Lt. Col. Christian L. Nicewarner relinquished command of 3d MSOB and handed leadership over to Lt. Col. Matthew G. Trollinger in a change of command ceremony.
From July 2005 to May 2009, Nicewarner served as a team leader in the MARSOC Foreign Military Training Unit - later renamed MSOAG, Executive Officer for the unit, and lastly commanding officer of Company A/3d MSOB. Using his extensive knowledge and experience, he helped establish the unit’s mission, core tasks and table of organization and equipment. As the commanding officer of Company A/3d MSOB he established the standard operating procedures for the employment of Marine Special Operations Teams deployed around the world in support of the Global War on Terror.
“I called him the face of the advisor group for a few years,” said Masur. “He’s certainly a cornerstone.”
According to Nicewarner, the success of the Company A/3d MSOB over the past few years can be measured in a variety of ways.
“We have a lot of metrics to measure what a unit does down range,” said Nicewarner. “Back in the ‘80s, if you wanted to know what was going on – ground truth - in Central America and South America, you’d (talk to a member of) the Special Forces detachment, from the 7th Special Forces Group. I think that’s what these guys have become over the last couple of years for certain parts of Africa with the persistent engagement that they’ve had.”
Nicewarner continues, “If you really want to know what’s going on out in the villages, out with some of the locals, you (talk to) one of these guys and they can tell you; because they’ve been there and done it over and over again, and that’s really a testament.”
Company A/3d MSOB has a new leader, and both battalions have new names. However, as this new chapter in the MSOAG chronicle begins, the courage and professionalism that defined the units under their previous designations are sure to remain steadfast under the new structure. After all, a special operations unit by any other name would be [just] as effective.