CAMP DWYER, Afghanistan --
Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 2 welcomed a new commander while deployed with 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) at Camp Dwyer, Afghanistan, April 30.
The Marines and sailors said goodbye to Lt. Col. Daniel T. Lathrop who relinquished command to Lt. Col. Mikel R. Huber during a ceremony on the squadron’s runway.
“The Marines did a great job out here and did everything I asked of them and more,” said Lathrop, a native of Marcellus, N.Y. “For the Marines that I have worked with over the last year and a half, I am very proud of you all.”
The ceremony marked the completion of nearly two years in which Lathrop served as the squadron’s commanding officer. Lathrop will now move on to serve with Marine Forces Pacific in Hawaii.
“It’s kind of bittersweet to change command while deployed in combat operations with only a couple weeks remaining,” said Lathrop. “But I have a lot of faith and confidence that Lt. Col. Huber is going to do great things with the squadron.”
Under Lathrop’s command, the squadron operated 24 hours a day providing, aerial reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition support for Marines on the ground and their coalition partners in southwestern Afghanistan.
“Our mission was to provide overwatch for the units on the ground,” said Lathrop. “We were the eyes in the sky for the infantry battalions.”
Huber, the son of a career Navy officer, grew up in Idaho Falls, Idaho, and, served previously as the operations officer for Marine Aircraft Group 14 at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., where he and his family now call home.
“I am excited to take command of VMU-2 and I am proud to call myself a Night Owl today,” said Huber. “My plan for the remaining couple of weeks in Afghanistan is to complete our turnover with VMU-3 and ensure that they are ready to take over combat operations. After that we will redeploy back to Cherry Point and take some much deserved rest.”
In addition to ensuring his Marines return back to Cherry Point safely, Huber said he must also prepare his squadron for the future. VMU-2 is currently scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan again in 2012.
“The deployment schedule will have us back out here in a year,” said Huber. “Once we go home we will begin training again and look back on this successful deployment and see how we can improve our operations.”