Camp Pendleton, Calif. -- The Marine Corps is known for being a traditional branch of service, which prides itself on being able to uphold what Marines have practiced since 1775. One of the distinguishing traditions that the Marine Corps has is the change of command ceremony.
The ceremony marks the occasion where the responsibility and authority of a single unit is transferred from one commander to another.
Maj. Michael N. Estes, commanding officer of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, relinquished his command of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit to Col. Matthew G. Trollinger as part of a change of command ceremony here March 28.
Originally slated to be the MEU operations officer, Estes assumed duties as the executive officer and, eventually, the commanding officer of the MEU. As the commanding officer, Estes oversaw daily operations and guided the unit for seven months, an unprecedented tour for a major.
“It was hard to mess up," said Estes. "I was dealt a winning hand with the personnel I was given. The number of accolades that this unit has earned during my time is impressive and there have been some big ones."
Estes will now move back to his original role as the operations officer and will use his experience as a commander to shape his contributions to the unit.
"Thank you Marines,” said Estes. “Again Col. Trollinger, I'd like to report that you’re getting a great unit."
Trollinger arrives at the MEU after a tour as the Military Assistant to the Deputy Under Secretary of the Navy for Plans, Policy, Oversight and Integration. He assumes command of the MEU during the post-deployment period, leaving ample time to shape the unit for its next deployment.
"Marines and sailors, friends and family thank you all for attending and sharing this moment with me,” said Trollinger. "It’s an exciting time to be a Marine or sailor. It’s an exciting time to be part of a MEU and I look forward to meeting the challenges that lie ahead."
Following the ceremony, personnel in attendance stood to congratulate Trollinger on his new position. Trollinger is now responsible for leading his new Marines into the next training cycle and the next deployment.