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Photo Information

Al Anbar Province, Iraq (May 21, 2005) Capt. Sean K. Butler from Mount Shasta, CA, of Weapons Co(Wpns Co), 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment (3/4) addresses his new command shortly after the Change of Command ceremony for Wpns Co. The Marines with 3/4, part of 2nd Marine Division, and MNF-W conducts counter-insurgency operations with Iraqi Security Forces to isolate and neutralize Anti-Iraqi Forces, to support the continued development of Iraqi Security Forces, and to support Iraqi reconstruction and democratic elections in order to create a secure environment that enables Iraqi self-reliance and self-governance. (Official USMC Photo by LCpl Brian M Henner)(Not Released)

Photo by LCpl Brian M Henner

3/4 Weapons holds change of command

21 May 2005 | Lance Cpl. Paul Robbins Jr.

A change of command ceremony was held for Weapons Co., 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, Regimental Combat Team-8, here, on the evening of May 21. Major Shannon L. Johnson passed authority of the company to Capt. Sean K. Butler in front of the gathered company at an entry control point held by the unit. “If we were going to do it anywhere, a combat environment was the place to do it,” said Johnson, a 37-year-old native of Monett, Mo., “It definitely made it more significant.” Johnson served as a company commander for two years and is moving on to become the battalion’s operations officer. Although Johnson recognizes the move as the right step for his career, he also recognizes the effect a staff level position will have on his connection with young Marines. “It’s the progress you want to make, up to battalion staff,” Johnson said, “but the biggest satisfaction of my command was being with the Marines…that will be something I’ll miss.” Butler, formerly the battalion’s future plans officer, is taking his first command of an infantry company as Johnson’s successor. According to Butler, the command of an infantry company is the premiere assignment for a company grade infantry officer. “It’s what infantry captains want to do,” said Butler, a native of Mt. Shasta, Calif., “It’s the last billet where you can have a personal impact on young Marines.” Butler’s excitement with the new command also stems from an upcoming challenge as the company commander. After a few days in command, and no training exercises, Weapons Company’s new commander will be coordinating fire in a battalion level offensive operation. “The first time is for real,” Butler said, “That’s the kind of challenge a Marine wants. I’m looking forward to it.” Being appointed to the position of commander under such demanding circumstances displays the battalion’s trust in Butler’s abilities as an officer, according to Johnson. As a former enlisted infantryman, with 18 years in the Marine Corps and a fire support background, Butler should be the right Marine for the job. “It’s a testament to the [commanding officer’s] confidence in his company grade officers,” Johnson said, “He knows that Captain Butler is more than capable of handling it.”