Photo Information

Lt. Col. Ryan R. Gutzwiller passes the Marine Corps flag to Lt. Col. Steven Riffer to symbolize the relinquishing of command, form Gutzwiller to Riffer. Photo by Pfc. Dylan M. Bowyer.

Photo by Pfc. Dylan M. Bowyer

Marine Cryptologic Support Battalion welcomes new commanding officer

1 Jul 2013 | Pfc. Dylan M. Bowyer

The Marine Cryptologic Support Battalion snaps to the position of attention at the start of its change of command ceremony at McLaughlin Field on here, June 19.

Lt. Col. Ryan R Gutzwiller relinquished command of the battalion to Lt. Col. Steven Riffer. Gutzwiller and Riffer began their careers together as second lieutenants with 1st Radio Battalion, Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, in 1996.

“Gutzwiller is an officer I have known for quite some time-- since we made preparations to make that long march into Bagdad many years ago,” said Col. Timothy Oliver, commanding officer of Marine Corps Intelligence Activity, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. “Since that time, he has been consistently engaged in making the Marine cryptologic community a better place. He has taken the usual things commanders do and what is expected of a Marine Corps officer to the next level.”

What is expected of a commanding officer varies due to the vast array of Marine Corps missions.

The battalion’s mission is to gather information, secure the information and meet the intelligence requirements of the United States. The battalion has been doing this mission for 55 years as of April 1, 2013.

“The global mission, the reach, the responsibility and the importance of the mission MCSB plays is not just for the Marine Corps but the nation at large,” Oliver said. “There is no mission you see on TV or read about that the Marines in MCSB are not intimately involved in. That is what makes this command, particularly MCSB, unique amongst other formations in the Marine Corps.”

There are more than 600 Marines in the battalion. Only about 100 participated in the ceremony as many are deployed worldwide protecting U.S. and ally interests.

Gutzwiller addressed the “sentinels of information” for the last time during the ceremony.

 “I encourage you to seek out ways to be challenged-- that’s how you grow as a professional,” Gutzwiller said. “That is one of the things I tried to do coming here.”

With the battalion’s colors passed, Riffer said he is excited about the future and commanding his new Marines.


“I’m looking forward to getting to know each and every one of you and your families, to work with you and carry on the great traditions that you all have done up to this point,” Riffer said. “I appreciate your sacrifice, and I’m looking forward to the next two years more than I can say.”

As Riffer takes over command from Gutzwiller, Oliver reminded him of what he has to look forward to in the coming years.

“Lt. Col. Riffer, you have big responsibilities ahead of you. It’s easy to forget, as we sit here in a grassy field near the Capitol region, that the Marine Cryptologic Support Battalion is a battalion at war,” Oliver said.

The battalion’s mission to gather and secure information is constant in times of war and times of peace.

Headquarters Marine Corps