U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Jeffrey M. Rohman, the outgoing commanding officer of 9th Communication Battalion, I Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group, salutes during the 9th Communication Battalion change of command ceremony at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, June 8, 2023. The passing of colors from an outgoing commander to an incoming commander ensures that the unit and its Marines are never without official leadership, represents a continuation of trust, and signifies an allegiance of Marines to their unit's commander. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Trent A. Henry
U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Jefferey M. Rohman, left, the outgoing commanding officer of 9th Communication Battalion, I Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group, passes the organizational colors to Lt. Col. Robert A. Doss III, the oncoming commanding officer, during the 9th Communication Battalion change of command ceremony at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, June 8, 2023. The passing of colors from an outgoing commander to an incoming commander ensures that the unit and its Marines are never without official leadership, represents a continuation of trust, and signifies an allegiance of Marines to their unit's commander. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Trent A. Henry
A shared journey: 9th COMM change of command
by Staff Sgt. Courtney White,
I MEF Information Group
The journey of the Marine Corps often begins with an individual seeking to serve their country with honor and dedication. When considering the Marine Corps employs more than 180,000 Marines, the odds of two individuals with a shared hometown, with all its unique characteristics and memories, embarking on similar paths is significant. In the case of Lt. Col. Jeffrey Rohman and Lt. Col. Robert Doss III, both raised in the western portion of the Florida Panhandle, their paths crossed multiple times, most recently when Rohman relinquished command of 9th Communication Battalion to Doss during a change of command ceremony on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, June 8, 2023.
A change of command ceremony represents the transfer of responsibility, authority, and accountability from one leader to another. However, the simultaneous change of command involving two commanding officers from the same town added a unique and special significance to the event.
“In 2011, I was an instructor at the Basic Communication Officer Course located in Quantico,” said Rohman, a graduate of Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee. “Near the end of my tour, Doss came in with the new batch of officers and we soon discovered after talking that we grew up 15 minutes away from each other. He is from Cantonment, and I am from Pensacola proper.”
Over the last decade, the two officers stayed in touch and served in similar assignments and billets.
“When I got assigned to the communication battalion, Doss reached out and asked if he could be my executive officer,” said Rohman. “Since then, we worked to enhance his competitiveness to be my replacement at the battalion.”
The ceremony itself was a solemn affair, steeped in tradition and conducted with precision, but also brought their hard work to fruition. A change of command symbolizes the continuity of leadership and the Marine Corps' commitment to its mission. The passing of the unit's colors from the outgoing commander to the incoming commander signifies the seamless transition of authority and the trust placed in the new leader.
“I know him, I know what he is about,” said Rohman. “He and I are very likeminded. We might have different leadership styles, but neither is less effective – it’s just our personalities are different. He is an individual that the OccField and service should invest in and put in the greatest places, where our biggest challenges and our greatest problems are going to be solved; because I think he is that good and that capable.”
9th Communication Battalion provides task organized expeditionary forces capable of operating, defending, and preserving information networks in order to enable command and control for the commander in all domains, and support and conduct MAGTF operations in the information environment.
“This battalion is one of the most prestigious and decorated communication battalions in the Marine Corps,” said Rohman. “It has a strong legacy, but the legacy alone is not enough to stand on. You have to earn it every day. We have worked to build the battalion with our primary focus being to instill identity, purpose and grit across the formation, and optimize and reorganize the battalion to bring max value to the MEF.”
Rohman believes 9th Communication Battalion is the ‘can do’ battalion within I MIG.
“You tell us what you need, and we will provide it because at the heart, this is a blue-collar organization, and we want to get to work,” said Rohman.
As Doss takes command, he wants to work to continue the speed and tempo the battalion operates on and consolidate on their gains.
“The Marines have done a phenomenal job operating under Lt. Col. Rohman’s vision and I am looking to capitalize on those and continue to provide high quality support to the MEF,” said Doss, a graduate of Tulane University. “Communications isn’t easy, and we are going to continue to train to ensure we are ready for anything that comes our way.”
Throughout their military careers, Rohman and Doss have excelled in their service, embodying the core values of the Marine Corps: honor, courage, and commitment. Their achievements, accomplishments, and exemplary leadership have earned them the respect and admiration of their peers and subordinates alike. Many would agree that their shared background and similar aspirations laid the foundation for their future leadership roles.
During the ceremony, Doss exclaimed “it is good to be home,” a feeling that resonated with Rohman. The ceremony not only marked an end to Rohman's time at 9th Communication Battalion, but also his 20 years of faithful service to the Marine Corps.
“I want to extend what a privilege it has been to lead and serve the Marines and Sailors of 9th Comm for these last two year,” said Rohman. “I want to reinforce that every step of the way, you have made me so proud and so encouraged.”
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