I never deserved to be your Commander. I knew that going in. So did you. I believe the same holds true now.
So my parting words will be simple: thank you.
I want to say thank you to each and every one of you for signing a blank check to your country; a check good for anything up to and including your life. That is a responsibility few will ever understand. You must recommit yourself to this responsibility each and every day.
I want to thank my commanders for leading me, just as much as they have led their companies and platoons. It was truly an honor to serve you while you showed me what it means to be a leader. I look up to you more than you know. Go lead others as you have led me.
I want to thank my staff for catching me each and every time I succumbed to my foolish nature. Your patience and positive attitude in spite of what sometimes seemed like overwhelming burdens has been an inspiration. Never lose your faith. And never forget what we did here.
I want, most of all, to thank the two men who actually kept the ship afloat: Mike McCormick and Vadim Reytblat. Words cannot describe my heartfelt gratitude and reverence for your loyalty, dedication, spirit, and friendship. You have made an indelible mark on my heart and on the heart of this Battalion. Thank you.
I wish I could have done more. I wish I could have been the Commander you deserve. But for what it’s worth, I leave you with four second-rate lessons in leadership that I’m still struggling to master myself:
Be a warrior.
Fight for virtue.
Lead with love.
And know that you, too, are loved.
Midshipman 1/c Mic Byrne, Jr.
Battalion Commander (Ret.)