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The tanker community came together August 1 to witness the change of command for 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division. Lieutenant Col. John M. Schaar of Philadelphia relinquished command as battalion commander to Lt. Col. Jon M. Lauder of Hastings, Minn.

Photo by Cpl. Marco Mancha

Iron Horse battalion welcomes new commander

16 Aug 2012 | Cpl. Marco Mancha

Families, Friends, and service members of 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, gathered for a change of command ceremony here recently, in which Lt. Col. John M. Schaar relinquished command to Lt. Col. Jon M. Lauder.

            “I think the Marines in 2nd Tanks have done an incredible job these past two years,” said Maj. Gen. John A. Toolan Jr., the commanding general for 2nd Marine Division and a native of Brooklyn, N.Y. “What (Lt.) Col. Shaar was able to bring to the table in the past two years was not only a top-ranked tank battalion, but was also able to do every other task that (the battalion) was asked to do, and they did it with total professionalism.”

            During the ceremony, Schaar handed the unit colors in typical Marine Corps fashion to Lauder, representing a transfer of total authority, responsibility and accountability from one Marine to another. 

Schaar, a native of Philadelphia, led the tank battalion in becoming a top notch tank battalion in the Marine Corps during his time as the battalion commander, leading his battalion in earning several gunnery awards.  He did, however, credit the Marines and sailors as being the reason for the success of the unit. 

“It was the Marines and sailors standing behind who made it happen,” said Schaar.  “It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve alongside them.”

The words of the former battalion commander echoed throughout the gymnasium as several Marines of the tank community and their family members gave the troops in formation a round of applause.  Lauder followed Schaar’s remarks with a few of his own.

“I can’t wait to get out there and serve side-by-side with you as your commander,” said Lauder of Hastings, Minn., as he enthusiastically took his position as the battalion commander. 

Lauder is no stranger to 2nd Tanks, where he served in several billets all the way up to commanding officer for the battalion’s Alpha Company in his first few years as a Marine officer.  He now prepares to take the reins of the infamous Iron Horses and maintain the high standards set by the battalion and its tankers.