Marine Corps cyberspace unit welcomes new leader

Col. Ossen J. D'Haiti (left), now retired, and Col. Desmond A. Reid Jr. share a light moment prior to the change-of-command ceremony for the Marine Corps Cyberspace Warfare Group on April 6. Reid later assumed command of the unit. (Photos by Phil Grout)

A downpour of rain did not dampen the spirit of welcome and respect that filled McGill Training Center as Col. Desmond A. Reid Jr. assumed command of the Marine Corps Cyberspace Warfare Group on April 6.

Reid succeeds Col. Ossen J. D’Haiti, who had served since December 2015 when the unit was activated. D’Haiti formally retired from the Marines on Friday after serving 27 years.

Maj. Gen. Lori E. Reynolds, commanding general, U.S. Marine Forces Cyberspace Command, presided over the 40-minute ceremony.

Maj. Gen. Lori E. Reynolds, commanding general of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command, welcomes Col. Desmond A. Reid Jr. to the command of the Marine Corps Cyberspace Warfare Group.

The Marine Corps Cyberspace Warfare Group organizes, trains, equips, provides administrative support, manages [the] readiness of assigned forces, plans, and conducts [a] full spectrum of cyberspace operations service, joint and coalition requirements, according to its brochure.

“This is a big moment for me and my family,” Reid said to the audience. “I’m humbled and privileged to be here this morning. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

The ceremony began with a musical prelude by the brass quintet of the U.S. Marine Band President’s Own based in Washington, D.C., and the invocation by Navy Chaplain (Capt.) Thomas E. Webber, chaplain for U.S. Cyber Command, the higher headquarters of U.S. Marine Forces Cyberspace Command.

Marines from the warfare group posted the colors; the brass quintet played the national anthem.

Capt. Peter Corcoran, a mission commander assigned the the Marine Corps Cyberspace Warfare Group, narrated the ceremony.

Master Gunnery Sgt. Eldar Krueger, the warfare group’s senior enlisted adviser, assisted in the transfer of the guidon.

After the exchange of leadership, Reynolds welcomed Reid and his family to the warfare group and encouraged the colonel to reach out to leadership whenever he needs assistance.

“I have all the confidence in the world in you,” Reynolds said to Reid.

Reid, who previously served as the director of the Commander’s Action Group for U.S. Marine Forces Cyberspace Command, graduated from Syracuse University in New York and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He completed the basic school and the basic communications officer course at the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Va.

He is a graduate of the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Control Systems School (with honors), the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and the U.S. Army War College.

Reid has held a number of leadership positions at every level across the spectrum of cyber operations, both stateside and in deployed war zones overseas.

Reynolds thanked D’Haiti for his service.

“What a fine job you have done,” Reynolds said. “While you were in command, I didn’t have to worry about how these Marines were being led. You never let me down.”

In his remarks, D’Haiti thanked Reynolds for her leadership and the military personnel of Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command for their support.

Col. Desmond A. Reid Jr., the new commander of the Marine Corps Cyberspace Warfare Group, addresses the audience after assuming command.

He also thanked the Marines.

“After nearly three years, I am proud of all you’ve accomplished, and I’m prouder still of what you’re about to accomplish,” D’Haiti said. “You are the jewel of the crown. Don’t forget that.”

D’Haiti praised Reid for his professionalism and called him “the engine” of the unit.

“These Marines are outstanding,” he said. “They will guide and serve you well.”

Reid said the Marines have an “incredible reputation” among their military peers and leaders, and among those who seek to do the nation harm.

“We’re going to be ready for everything,” he said. “I’m here to support you. I’m here to enable you. I look forward to the challenge.”

After the speeches, flowers were presented to D’Haiti’s mother and his wife, Maxine, and to Reid’s wife, Rita.

The ceremony ended with the brass quintet playing “Anchor’s Away.”

The Marines then presented D’Haiti with a farewell gift of the unit’s guidon and coin, and the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command coin and a folded American flag in a shadowbox.

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