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CAMP HURRICANE POINT Ar Ramadi, Iraq (May 23, 2005) - Gunnery Sgt. John B. Kelsch, and Staff Sgt. Ray A. Valdez, both with 4th Platoon, Company A, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, which is in direct support of 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, pin first lieutenant rank insignia on the collar of their commander, Douglas R. Orr, during his promotion ceremony here. The 23-year-old from Ridgefield, Conn., transitioned from gold to silver along with three other Marine officers with 1st Battalion, 5th Marines. Orr graduated from the United States Navel Academy Annapolis, Md., and holds a Bachelors of Science degree in political science. Photo by: Cpl. Tom Sloan

Photo by Cpl. Tom Sloan

Marine officers transition from gold to silver

23 May 2005 | Cpl. Tom Sloan

Four Marines with 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, were promoted to the rank of first lieutenant during a ceremony here May 23.

Adam W. Burch, Declan J. Lynch, Douglas R. Orr and Eldon W. Beck replaced the gold on their collars with silver in front of a camouflaged crowd of more than 40 comrades who gathered to honor them on their day of advancement.

The newly promoted leaders addressed the attendees after taking their oath of advancement and pinning on the first lieutenant rank insignia.

“I’m honored today because I’m continuing my service and leadership of Marines,” said Burch, platoon commander of 5th Platoon, Company W, who’s prior enlisted.

The 28-year-old from Saratoga, N.Y. served in the Navy as a Petty Officer 2nd Class when he jumped ship after being impressed by the Marines he served alongside.

According to the 2003 Citadel Military College of South Carolina graduate, “there’s multiple reasons” why he became a Marine officer. “Mainly to lead Marines, though,” said Burch, who has a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science.

“My commission is to do my job to the best of my ability,” said Lynch, the maintenance management officer for the infantry battalion’s logistics department. “The rewarding part of being a Marine officer is working with and leading young Marines.”

The 24-year-old from Yarmouth, Maine and Dublin, Ireland native felt compelled to become a Marine after the terrorists’ attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“It had a profound impact on me,” said the 2003 Dartmouth College of New Hampshire graduate. “I wanted to do something for my country and lead young men.”

Lynch has a Bachelors of Arts degree in government and geography.

Leading Marines “is what it’s all about,” said Orr, the platoon commander of 4th Platoon, Company A, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, which is in direct support of 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, during its Operation Iraqi Freedom deployment.

“I’m glad my Marines could be here for this,” said the 23-year-old from Ridgefield, Conn. “Everything I’m able to accomplish is because of my Marines.”

Orr is a 2003 graduate of the United States Navel Academy Annapolis, Md. He holds a Bachelors of Science degree in political science.

Beck, the infantry battalion’s legal officer and adjutant, shared similar feelings with his fellow, newly promoted Marines.

“I enjoy being a part of the battalion, leading my Marines and ensuring they develop as they should,” said the 25-year-old from Modesto, Calif. “This promotion intensifies my obligation to perform for and make lasting contributions to the battalion.”

According to the 2003 University of California Davis graduate who holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in political science, the new rank means more responsibilities.

“Your golden excuse bars are gone,” he said with a chuckle. “As a second lieutenant you’re the new guy and allowed to make a few mistakes.”

Not so anymore, he said.

“You’re expected to produce quality work as a first lieutenant.”

The ceremony ended with the Marines present congratulating their newly promoted officers.