Col. Michael R. Orr relinquished command of Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 22 to Col. Robert L. Rauenhorst in a change of command ceremony held at the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training hangar aboard Marine Corps Air Station New River, June 27.
Orr, who led the “Argonauts” from July 2012 to June 2014, oversaw more than 170 Marines and sailors during his time in command.
He successfully conducted three Operational Test and Evaluation deployments with the MV-22 and CH-53E and tasked his squadron to the maximum extent, enabling other squadrons to focus on their own training and deployment efforts, while still meeting Operational Testing and Evaluation requirements.
Orr’s great contributions were manifested in the successful transition of VMX-22’s status of an operational test squadron into a Marine Air-Ground Task Force Aviation Combat Element test and experimentation squadron, deploying in July 2014.
Orr was awarded the Legion of Merit for his superior performance of his duties, during the ceremony.
“I’m just so thankful and honored and thrilled to have been given the opportunity to lead this squadron,” Orr said during his farewell speech. “The unit is on a great path to do more for aviation. It is your time now to look in to the future.”
Lt. Gen. Jon M. Davis, Deputy Commandant of Aviation, Headquarters Marine Corps, commended Orr for being a true leader and bringing VMX-22 to a higher level.
“You have done a great job, I am really proud of you,” Davis said. “A great idea on a piece of paper comes to life under your leadership.”
Davis then turned to the incoming commander of VMX-22 with words of welcome.
“Your history, your background – you have done everything you need to take this squadron to the next level,” he told Rauenhorst.
Rauenhorst, prior executive officer of the squadron, will oversee VMX-22 on their first-ever deployment.
They deployment will take place in less than a month, Rauenhorst said.
“The closest alligator to the boat is the deployment aboard the U.S.S America,” he said. “So making sure we safely deploy our aircraft, take care of the Marines and their families and complete the mission is key.”
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