New CO takes command of VMM-261 - Camp Lejeune Globe: RotoVue: New River

New CO takes command of VMM-261

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Posted: Thursday, March 23, 2017 12:00 am

Lt. Col. Stephen Pirrotta took command of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261 from Lt. Col. Mark Franko during a change of command ceremony held on Marine Corps Air Station New River, March 9.

During Franko’s command, the squadron deployed with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response Africa but he is most proud of the work they do daily.

"Everything that these guys do every day and the maintenance they’ve conducted, that’s probably what I’m most proud of," said Franko.

During the ceremony, Franko passed the unit colors on to Pirrotta to represent the passing of authority and accountability for the unit, officially relinquishing command of VMM-261 to Pirrotta.

"I think that the squadron is going to be in great hands with (Pirrotta). I’ve known him for a long time," said Franko. "I think he’ll do a fantastic job as the (commanding officer) of the Raging Bulls."

Pirrotta was previously the training and readiness officer for Marine Aircraft Group 26 while awaiting command of the squadron.

"I have the utmost respect for (Franko). I’ve had the pleasure of being able to work with him and for him at various times throughout the Marine Corps," said Pirrotta. "I cannot be more pleased and feel more privileged then to take the reins from such an individual as him. I wish him and his family great success in their future Marine Corps endeavors."

Moving forward Pirrotta’s focus is on training to ensure the Marines are ready for the next mission.

"The squadron is supporting the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force rotation here in the future. We will look forward to training and meeting the requirements necessary to go out and execute that mission," said Pirrotta.

As the new commanding officer, Pirrotta plans to continue traditions of the unit while still accomplishing the mission.

"The Raging Bulls is a great unit with a great tradition," said Pirrotta. "I look forward to working with all of these individuals, Marines and Sailors, going ahead to accomplish our mission and continue those proud traditions."

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