MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT --
Col. Peter J. DeVine received the Marine Air Control Group 28 colors from Col. Jeffrey L. Merchant at the group’s change of command ceremony Dec. 3.
Merchant was selected to be the assistant chief of staff for the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing.
Maj. Gen. Jon M. Davis, commanding general of 2nd MAW, was present at the ceremony and publicly acknowledged the excellent work of Merchant’s Marines within MACG-28.
“Not only did you wind down operations in Iraq,” said Davis. “You stood up operations in Afghanistan and enabled the Marine air-ground task force at your command and control to range that battle space, do the job, and basically set the conditions of success for all the forces we put forward today. Since I’ve taken command of this wing, you’ve done nothing but impress me. You are a great leader, you make the tough calls, you take care of your Marines, you know your stuff, you’re a man of character, you’re an innovator. Bottom line is that’s what we need right now. I could not be more proud of any commander.”
Davis also expressed confidence in DeVine’s ability to command a group that would continue to support combat missions in Afghanistan.
Davis said DeVine came with a great reputation.
“I can’t wait to work and serve with you closely. I know you’re going to do a great job, and you’ll make 28 as ready as Col. Merchant did,” Davis said.
Before leaving his command, Merchant expressed his words of gratitude while serving with his fellow Marines.
“Marines, I’m proud of you, as I have been every day for the last 27 months,” Merchant said. “This group is organized, trained and equipped to provide one air command and control system. Last year, we provided two command and control systems in combat in two theaters of war at one time. That’s unprecedented, it’s historic and I’m proud of what they’ve accomplished.”
Merchant also said that there is no finer officer than DeVine that he would like to change command with.
DeVine, who has served with MACG-28 as both an enlisted Marine and an officer, said he is excited to take command of the group he’s spent so much time with.
“I’m back home,” DeVine said. “This is my fourth time here. I am privileged to serve as your commanding officer. I look forward to serving with you again as we take care of our nation’s business.”