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Marine Col. Paul L. Damren will assume command of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit during a change-of-command ceremony Tuesday aboard the USS Juneau at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa.

Marine Col. Paul L. Damren will assume command of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit during a change-of-command ceremony Tuesday aboard the USS Juneau at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa. (Courtesy of U.S. Marine Corps)

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Col. Paul L. Damren will assume command of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit during a change-of-command ceremony Tuesday aboard the USS Juneau at the White Beach Naval Facility.

The ceremony takes place at 9 a.m. and is open to all members of the 31st MEU and invited guests.

During the ceremony, Col. John L. Mayer will officially end his two-year term as commanding officer of the Marine Corps’ only permanently forward-based expeditionary unit. He moves on to become deputy commander of Joint Task Force North at Northern Command in Fort Bliss, Texas.

In the past six months, the 31st MEU participated in Marine Exercise ’08 with Indonesian marines, and conducted humanitarian projects in Indonesia and Timor. It also participated in Joint Task Force Caring Response to assist victims of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar and took part in the annual Cobra Gold exercise in Thailand.

Damren comes to Okinawa from the Inter-American Defense College in Washington, where he served as chief of studies. Prior to that he was director of strategic plans and policy for Combined Forces Command-Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom).


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