Family, friends and Marines of Marine Attack Squadron 311 joined together at the squadron hangar June 22 for the change of command ceremony.
Lt. Col. Peter Blake relinquished command of VMA-311 to Lt. Col. Scott Mitchell. Blake will continue on to Marine Aircraft Group 13 Headquarters.
â€œWe are extremely happy to be staying close. It would be so sad to have to say goodbye to such an amazing squadron and Yuma all at once,â€ said Molly Blake, Lt. Col. Blakeâ€™s wife.Â â€œIt has been such a tremendous honor to be a part of this team. Weâ€™ve enjoyed getting to know the Marines and their families at every level.â€
Before the change of command ceremony, Blake addressed his Marines for the last time in an informal school circle.
â€œIt has been an honor and a privilege to serve with each and everyone of you,â€ said Blake to his Marines. â€œThe things weâ€™ve faced and accomplished over the last 19 months Iâ€™ve been here have made us a stronger squadron and I thank you for an amazing experience.â€
Blakeâ€™s Marines share the same admiration for him as he does for them.
â€œHaving a CO youâ€™re proud of is just as important as having a squadron youâ€™re proud of,â€ said Sgt. Maj. William Shaw, former VMA-311 sergeant major. â€œThese Marines and myself are so proud of having the chance to serve with him.â€
Like Blake, Mitchell did not have to travel far from his previous position as the MAG-13 current readiness officer.
â€œI am truly honored and humbled to join such a proficient and combat ready organization,â€ said Mitchell.
Following the ceremony, Marines and their families gathered at the Sonoran Pueblo on station to celebrate and honor their former leader and welcome the new.