3rd Ranger Battalion gets a new commander

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http://news.soc.mil/releases/News Archive/2010/August/100806-03.html

FORT BENNING, Ga. (USASOC News Service, Aug. 6, 2010) - More than 300 family, friends, and Ranger veterans joined 3rd Ranger Battalion as they said good-bye to one commander and hello to a new one.

Col. Daniel R. Walrath relinquished command to Lt. Col. Fredrick “Mark” O’Donnell July 20 at a ceremony held on the National Infantry Museum Soldier’s Parade Field.

In the almost nine years of combat, Rangers have established themselves as the nation’s premier direct action raid force.

Robert E. Lee once said, “Men will do extraordinary things as long as they are properly led.”

“Therein lays the difficulty; where can these leaders be obtained,” said Col. Michael E. Kurilla, commander 75th Ranger Regiment. “I will tell you that he is standing before you today.”

During Walrath’s command, 3rd Ranger Battalion achieved remarkable success on the battlefield, including killing eight key leader and high value targets within Iraq and Afghanistan, applying extraordinary pressure and disruption on the enemy.

“Dan has brilliantly led this magnificent 3rd Ranger Battalion over the last two years,” said Kurilla. “Their success in both Iraq and Afghanistan is unprecedented.”

Targeting high value targets across Iraq and Afghanistan, 3rd Battalion has conducted over 2500 raids during its 14 combat deployments resulting in the killing or capturing of thousands of key al-Qaeda, Taliban and other insurgent leaders.

“This battalion has led the shift in our national main effort and we are now leading the main effort fight in the main effort province by operating in advance of conventional forces to shape their long term success,” said Walrath. “The successes in central Helmand and Marjah realized by conventional forces beginning February 2010, we were there in May 2009.”

“This is what Rangers of this battalion do—they have been the force of choice for those missions that others could not do, or would not do, the force of choice for the mission impossible," Walrath added. "But just being chosen to get in the ring is not enough—this battalion doesn’t leave the field of battle until it has completed its mission and vanquished its enemies.”

Walrath is attending the Naval War College at Newport, R.I., with a follow-on assignment as commander of 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Ky.

“Mark is no stranger to the Rangers and brings with him a wealth of combat experience having recently returned from a 12 month deployment to Afghanistan,” said Kurilla. “To whom much is given, much is expected. I have no doubt Mark will take 3rd Ranger Battalion to new heights.”

O’Donnell served as the battalion adjutant and headquarters and headquarters company commander with 1st Battalion at Hunter Army Airfield, Ga. He was also the senior liaison officer and operations officer with the 75th Ranger Regiment.

“I’ve spent an entire military career in awe of the Ranger scroll and all the men that stand behind it,” said O’Donnell. “Over a 20 year period, I’ve been mentored—both inside and outside the Regiment, by men who have proudly served in this great organization.”

O’Donnell finished his remarks with this pledge to the Rangers, NCOs and Officers of 3rd Ranger Battalion, “I am truly humbled to stand in your ranks. I will never take this opportunity for granted and promise to always give 100 percent and then some. I look forward to joining the team and navigating the triumphs and challenges the next couple of years will offer.”
 
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