MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- Lt. Col. Andrew R. Kennedy relinquished command of 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines to Lt. Col. Scott C. Shuster, in a change of command ceremony here May 5.
Kennedy has served as the Darkside’s commanding officer since July 2004. His next assignment will keep him aboard the Combat Center as the Deputy Assistant Chief G-3, Operations & Training.
Shuste has served as a platoon commander during the Gulf War, battalion adjutant, company commander, operations officer and was the plans officer for the 1st Marine Division. In this assignment he was responsible for planning a number of operations, including the successful assault on Fallujah, one of the largest urban offensives in Marine Corps history and also took part in planning the Iraqi transition to sovereignty in Al Anbar province in 2004.
“I want to thank Lieutenant Colonel Kennedy for carrying on the tradition and contributing to the story and the history of this organization,” said Shuster during the ceremony. “It is my honor and privilege to be accepted into the Darkside.”
In January 2005, Kennedy led the battalion to success in Iraq as part of Regimental Combat Team 8. Upon their arrival into Fallujah, the battalion conducted stability and security operations in the southern half of the city and peninsula by manning entry control points and conducting daily patrols. Under Kennedy’s leadership, the battalion successfully conducted seven offensive operations to defeat terrorist cells in their area of operations and subsequently detained more than 400 insurgents.
“The streets of Fallujah, the peninsula and Al Amariyah; you all know about those places, places with danger constantly at hand,” said Kennedy speaking to his Marines. “You all know about the struggle to retain integrity and discipline of duties which are never easy.”
“The only way for us to win this war is through one Arab mind at a time,” continued Kennedy. “This is only going to be done by the disciplined action of every Marine, every patrol, every day through your entire tour.”
Kennedy believes the Iraqi people fear and respect force, but the courage and discipline of his Marines enlightened the people. Their daily actions brought Iraqi leaders to seek cooperation with the battalion which enabled their success and kept the neighborhoods safe.
“Tradition, brilliance in the basics, meant the death of our terrorists and the survival of our reputation,” said Kennedy. “Your discipline and consistent applications day in and day out pushed the Iraqi people to help themselves, which was a lot easier than trying to push the Darkside.”
Kennedy attributed the battalion’s success during his time as the commanding officer to every Marine who fell under his command.
“In a world obsessed with self gratification, you sacrificed,” said Kennedy. “In a place of ultimate danger, you take the longer breath and exercise restraint. In a model of deceit surrounded by lies, you stand firm and consistent. No heroes here — but men, brothers in arms, professionals with a job to do. I salute each and every one of you.”
And with an intense deep voice Kennedy said farewell.
“I thank everybody, my guests, my friends, my wife and my God for allowing me the opportunity to serve you. I will always be a member of the Darkside. Semper Fi.”