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MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - Lieutenant Colonel Robert G. Petit, left, hands the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment colors to Lt. Col. Kenneth M. DeTreux to symbolize the transfer of authority during a change of command ceremony here Nov. 4. DeTreux, a native of Philadelphia, assumed command of "America's Battalion" to prepare his Marines for a deployment to Iraq in 2006.

Photo by Cpl. Mike Escobar

“America’s Battalion” in new hands

4 Nov 2005 | Cpl. Mike Escobar

“America’s Battalion” traded hands during a change of command ceremony here Nov. 4.

Lieutenant Colonel Robert G. Petit relinquished authority over 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment to Lt. Col. Kenneth M. DeTreux before their friends, families and fellow Marines.

“I’m proud to be a part of it, proud to be a part of this battalion’s storied reputation,” DeTreux stated, adding that his unit has already served three deployments in the past two years.  “I’m following in a line of great commanders who have led this battalion before.”

The Philadelphia native graduated from Temple University in 1988, after which he was commissioned a second lieutenant.  Since then, he has commanded Marines throughout several areas around the world, to include units participating in Operation Just Cause in Panama (1989-1990) and Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait (1990-1991). 

He deployed to Afghanistan from February to July 2004 with the 6th Marine Regiment.  Starting in April, he served as the regimental executive officer until assuming his present assignment. 

Now, DeTreux said he looks forward to leading his Marines on the long road to prepare for another deployment to Iraq.

“We’ll be ready to do our mission over there when called upon,” he continued.

DeTreux’s personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal with gold star in lieu of second award, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and the Combat Action Ribbon with two gold stars.

Petit, the outgoing commander, will serve in the 2nd Marine Division’s operations cell before reporting into the Naval War College.