A Greeting from the Men of 3d Reconnaissance Battalion - 2003

KEEPERS OF THE FLAME
by
3rd Recon's Battalion Commander
Lt. Col. George H. Bristol USMC


As the New Year unfolds in Okinawa, the men of 3d Reconnaissance Battalion are playing a major role in the evolving war against terrorism - Operation Enduring Freedom. Here in the Far East, the pace remains fast and the various potential missions are full spectrum in nature. As the "Forward Shadow" of the 3d Marine Division, the Battalion remains poised for reconnaissance operations.

I sit here - as the Battalion Commander - and am continually amazed at the high caliber of Marine we receive from either the Recruit Training pipeline or from various FMF units. They are young, strong, smart, and eager to take their respective place in the 3d Reconnaissance Battalion brotherhood. No stranger to this hallowed unit myself, I am often asked by young Marines about the past of the Battalion and am happy to pass on the many stories that I heard when I was their age during my previous tours here. While much of today's world is based on "flavor of the month" and "star of the moment," the Marine Corps - and Recon in particular - reveres its heritage. Of course, our heritage is all of you who have gone before us.

I can say without hesitation that you - the men who made this Battalion what it is - are the pathfinders and protectors of the path. You have made your mark in the crucible of combat; you have set the standard with your muscle, bone, blood - and the hearts that pump it. Simply put, we do today because of what you have done before us.

Reconnaissance has been - and will always be - small, closely-knit units, led by men. Equipment, uniforms, and some tactics may change with time. But what will never change is the mission: a small unit, forward of friendly lines, who must locate enemy for other units. From our inception as Scouts in World War II and through conflict and peace, the men who are called Recon Marines continue on their solitary task: eyes for the Commander.

Many of you who have written to me - offering your support to our current operations - continue to inspire us with your wisdom, experience, and affection. Whenever the Battalion has the opportunity to welcome home on of its brothers, we are humbled and honored. Recently, I asked the men if any would like to try to attend one of your reunions as a guest - the response was overwhelming. It is one of my goals as the current Battalion Commander to have a few of our Marines join you at your next gathering. They will be able to update you on our current status, equipment, and missions. But more importantly, they will be the beneficiaries of your experience and camaraderie.

Gentlemen, you are much in our thoughts. Our Battalion Command Post is lined with pictures from our past, and that past is you. Often, as I walk down the passageway toward the S-3, I will see young Marines, looking at the pictures. They will comment on the men they observe and whisper in admiration of the accomplishments. In essence, they are acknowledging their legacy - a legacy of high standard, and uncommon devotion to country, Corps, and fellow Recon Marines.

You - the members of the 3d Reconnaissance Battalion Association - are the flame that burns in all of us. We - the members of the current Battalion - are the keepers of the flame. It is a flame that has burned in the soul of every Marine who has served here, lo these many years.

I pray that it always shall.

Celer-Silens-Mortalis, and Semper Fidelis,

Lt Colonel George H. Bristol, USMC