The United States Army Los Angeles Recruiting Battalion performed a change of command on Friday, July 13 at Veterans Park in Redondo Beach, California.
The command went from Lt. Col Mark Ripley to Lt. Col Patrick M. Flood, with a flag passing ceremony witnessed by soldiers in the recruiting battalion, family members and community partners.
“The passing of these colors symbolizes the passing of the duties and responsibilities associated with this very important position,” Michael Gregory, the event’s emcee, told the audience.
The passing of the Battalion Guidon was facilitated by Colonel Leroy R. Barker, commander of the 6th Recruiting Brigade.
On the significance of the ceremony, Gregory said, “the history, traditions, and accomplishments of the Los Angeles Army Recruiting Battalion are embodied in these colors. With the transfer, the unit’s legacy is passed as a building block for future performance and achievements. Secondly, the colors are at the forefront of a formation that signify with the continuity of the transfer of the colors also goes the transfer of responsibility for accomplishment of the mission and the welfare of the soldiers.”
Ripley, who served as battalion commander for the past two years, was praised by Barker for his “level-headed leadership” and initiatives increase recruitment in the LA area.
Ripley was commissioned through the Reserve Officer Training Corps at San Diego State University in September 1997. He was deployed with the 1st Theater Sustainment Command to Kuwait from 2009 to 2010 as the Deputy G1 Fwd. He also served as part of a Reception, Staging, Onward, & Integration assessment team to Afghanistan during the same period.
His military awards and decorations include three Meritorious Service Medals, one Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Korea Service Defense Medal, and the NATO medal.
In his remarks, the outgoing commander thanked community partners, soldiers and fellow commanders who helped advance the U.S. Army’s efforts and highlighted achievements during his tenure.
The strides Ripley mentioned included highest regular Army enlistment two-year average in LA history (about 1,000 a year) and highest combined regular Army and Army reserve enlistment average in LA history (2,165 per year).
“Thank you for the privilege of letting me serve as battalion commander. It was truly an honor. I approached every day with this model mind of mission first and people always,” Ripley concluded.
Flood also addressed the crowd, sharing that 20 years ago, he was living in LA as an actor and a member of the Army Reserve. When his younger brother had passed away, he said, “From that moment, I wanted to find a way to serve others to a greater extent and found that in the regular Army.”
Flood, who recalled some of his experiences while being deployed in Afghanistan, shared that the new position will help “the youth of LA realize their potential.”
“I pledge to give back as much as I’ve given,” he said.
The LA recruiting battalion — nicknamed the “Rough Riders” and headquartered in Encino — oversees five areas or “companies”: San Gabriel, Long Beach, San Fernando Valley, coastal cities, and Los Angeles.