The unit held a change of command ceremony at Soifert Field aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., Dec. 29, 2011.
During the ceremony, the battalion witnessed the passing of the colors from LtCol Christopher G. Downs, the outgoing commanding officer, to LtCol Ferdinand F. Llantero.
The ceremony marked the end of a tenure, which lasted longer than a year and saw much of the battalion deploy to Afghanistan in support of International Security Assistance Force operations.
Llantero is the battalion’s 44th commanding officer in its long history. After the ceremony was complete, both Marines had a chance to speak to everyone in attendance. Llantero’s speech was short and to the point.
“I’m not one to talk much, but one thing I will say is, if you give me your all I will give my all to you,” he said.
Although the ceremony was a celebration of what is yet to come under new tutelage, it was also a time for Downs and the unit to bid farewell to each other.
“My time here has been a highlight,” Downs said. “I will remember this for a long time. Each and every Marine here gave me all they had, and it’s all I could ask for. I will truly miss everyone, but I know 8th ESB is in great hands, and it makes it easier to go.”
As Downs continued his speech, he expressed his confidence in the unit and their future endeavors.
“The job isn’t done Marines,” he concluded. “I know you all will do your jobs and do them as well as anyone else. Continue all the great work.”