CAMP GEIGER, N.C. --
Its purpose: provide infantrymen with realistic and thorough training relevant to their occupational specialty. Its curriculum: such courses as the Combat Hunter Course and the Anti-Tank Missileman Leaders’ Course. Its name: the Advanced Infantry Training Battalion.
It is this battalion, then, which stood at attention before a ceremony held aboard Camp Geiger where Lt. Col. John Armellino relinquished command of AITB to Lt. Col. G. Russ Boyce, June 24.
“This battalion and its 20 different programs of instruction have grown immensely over the past few years,” said Col. Timothy Mundy, commanding officer of the School of Infantry – East. “A lot of that growth has happened under the watchful eye of Armellino, and for someone so committed to the job, the Marine Corps will benefit from your time here for years to come.”
Growing from the newborn Advanced Infantry Training Company after its formation in 1996, AITB has since schooled thousands of Marines in courses stressing the importance of combat leadership alongside the heightened training for specific 03XX military occupational specialties. Although a relatively new battalion when placed next to other schools of its magnitude, AITB has since proved its worth in the Marines on today’s front lines.
For the past few years, Armellino has overseen the multitude of training courses within the AITB and used his leadership acumen to strengthen the battalion as much as he could. As such, he is reluctant to turn over his command, yet safe in the assurance that the battalion he leaves behind can only improve.
“When you turn over the keys of your car, you want it to be to someone you trust,” said Armellino. “There is no other lieutenant colonel I am as confident in to turn command of AITB over to.”
The reigns of AITB are left in good hands as Armellino continues down the path of his military career. Now 15 years into its existence, the battalion will not slow down in its pursuit of stronger, better trained Marines, and Boyce will see to it that the AITB will uphold the level of excellence thousands of Marines have come to see from it.
“They think alike and train individuals alike,” said Sgt. Maj. Kenneth Rademacher, sergeant major of AITB. “The transition between commanding officers will be seamless and the quality of trained Marines here will be just as good as ever.”