CAMP HANSEN, OKINAWA, Japan -- The 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit has a new commander – Col. Tye R. Wallace ended his historic tenure during a change of command ceremony at Camp Hansen, handing the unit’s colors to Col. Robert Brodie as fellow Marines, Sailors, friends and family looked on June 13.
During his tour, Wallace led the 31st MEU through four deployments with the Navy’s Amphibious Squadron 11, embarking aboard the ships of the Bonhomme Richard and Wasp Amphibious Ready Groups. He oversaw successful multilateral exercises across the Indo-Pacific region, including Amphibious Landing Exercise and Exercise KAMANDAG in the Philippines, Exercise Cobra Gold in The Kingdom of Thailand, Exercise Valiant Shield in Guam, and Exercise Talisman Saber in Australia.
The 31st MEU made headlines earlier this year for earning the distinction as the first MEU to deploy operationally with the F-35B Lightning II jet fighter.
“I couldn’t be prouder, as [Lt. Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson] said, of the MEU,” said Wallace, a 1991 graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. “We had four battalion landing teams, two different Osprey squadrons, two different Harrier squadrons, a [F-35B Lightning II] squadron, our permanent logistics squadron and the Command Element. Just shy of about 10,000 Marines over the last two years. Our patrols are shorter but more frequent – it’s busy, it’s meaningful and the Marines know what they’re supposed to do – to be that crisis response force.”
The 31st MEU is a forward-deployed force in readiness – its Marines and Sailors typically deploy twice each year for patrols of the Indo-Pacific region. The result is a high operational tempo, quick work-up cycles and a high turnover of personnel. The 31st MEU is a demanding tour of duty and only the most highly qualified officers ever get a chance to lead one of seven MEUs across the Marine Corps.
Brodie, who arrives at the 31st MEU after his most recent assignment with 1st Air Force, 601st Air Operations Center, looks forward to the challenge.
“Today is a big day, it’s a day that I’ve really been looking forward to for a long time,” said Brodie, a Naval Aviator by trade and graduate of the Citadel. “I understand that the burden is great. It became very clear to me when I was handed the BlackBerry that this was getting real, so I’m excited.”