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    Thursday, September 21, 2017-6:08:30A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

Marine Col. Robert Loynd returns to Pentagon

AFTER three years of serving as senior-ranking Marine Corps officer on Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, Colonel Robert D. Loynd is returning to the Pentagon.

Col. Robert Loynd with Tinian Mayor Ramon Dela Cruz. Photo by Alexie Villegas Zotomayor A Marine Corps EA-6B pilot who served in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Colonel Loynd will be relinquishing his Marine Forces Pacific (Forward) Officer in Charge for Guam and CNMI post this Friday.

Loynd confirmed to Variety, “I will be transferring to Headquarters Marine Corps at the Pentagon, where I will be working in the Plans, Policies and Operations Department.”

In the three years of his tour of duty in the Marianas, Loynd’s duties encompassed three broad areas.

Loynd said the first of these duties was “representing United States Marine Corps’ operational requirements and equities locally to the various stakeholders involved in the military realignment effort, whether they be U.S. government officials, Government of Guam or CNMI officials, or local citizens who may or may not be affected by future actions, but who are concerned, nonetheless.”

While in the region, Loynd was involved in “slowly increasing our team of Marines and supporting civilians to serve as the core staff for the future ‘Marine Corps Base Guam.’”

Lastly, Loynd said he worked closely with the local community and village citizens to help them understand what Marines are all about and how they are intent “on being responsible, productive and contributing members to the spirit, quality and fabric of daily life on Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.”

Loynd says he will continue to advocate all of these, which to him are three equally significant, unified accomplishments.

He told Variety, “We can’t have success in this very complex realignment effort — one that spans many levels, from political and geo-strategic, to operational and tactical — unless we have communication and understanding at every turn.”

Loynd believes this necessitates an understanding between government officials and the people of tge Marianas of what’s at stake and required.

Loynd views this as a close partnership “where we progress forward in a spirit of mutual cooperation, seeking to achieve common ground and mutually agreeable solutions.”

He underscores the importance of the community hearing directly from the Marines and knowing they can turn to them “in a spirit of trust when they need their questions answered with clarity and honesty.”

Loynd told Variety, “I believe the Marines have fostered these kinds of relationships.  This has been perhaps our most crucial accomplishment over the past three years, and we pledge to build upon this.”

Since assuming his responsibilities in the region in July 2009, Loynd has worked with various stakeholders on the realignment program.

And doing so was not without challenges.

“I think the biggest ones have been related to the fluctuations and changes in the realignment program, writ large — most of which are unavoidable byproducts of a program that is so complex and involves bilateral decisions,” he said.

Loynd explained that unavoidably, these fluctuations and adjustments at the strategic level often result in confusion, concern and uncertainty “ ‘on-the-ground’ here on Guam and in the CNMI, where many of the agreed actions will ultimately take place or be activated.”

This, Loynd said, will require communication, cooperation and dialogue.

“There is no other way in these circumstances to explain facts, reassure, assuage concerns or resolve complex challenges as they arise,” he said.

Asked what he suggests his successor should continue working on, he said he knows his successor “will continue to vigorously engage in dialogue with the community and all realignment stakeholders.”

Loynd said the ensuing buildup in the region is not merely an increase in Marines on Guam with resulting construction.

He said, “This is something far more significant.  This is a fundamental realignment of elements of the Third Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF) from Okinawa, Japan.”

He explained that the  III MEF is the nation’s “911 Force in the Western Pacific” postured “to execute complex, joint, combined-arms operations rapidly throughout this vast region, with full-scale capabilities.”

He also said the III MEF is ready to respond a broad spectrum of contingencies, from humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, security cooperation and partnership-building to major combat operations “and everything in between.”

“They are an expeditionary force-in-readiness that operates on land, in the air, or from the sea, and can sustain themselves logistically in austere environments with decisive capabilities and combat-power,” said Loynd.

He also stressed that it is imperative to continue approaching this realignment with operational capability and readiness in mind.

It is because of the above, he said, that they require live-fire training ranges on Guam and in the CNMI.

He said, “This is why we need to ensure that strategic and operational sea and air lift — ships and airplanes — are available and part of the equation.  This is why this entire effort transcends mere construction of buildings on Guam, and embraces joint war-fighting capability in this theater.  Our Nation depends on our ability to project power, respond to crises, assure our allies, deter aggression and foster peace and stability in the region.”

He added, “This is what this effort is truly about, and all of our Marines will continue to convey this message.”

Prior to being assigned on Guam, Loynd served as deputy branch head of the Aviation Weapons Requirements Branch, in the Headquarters Marine Corps’ Aviation Department from June 2007 to July 2009.

In 2004-2007, he was chief of the J-5 Strategy Branch, U.S. Forces Korea, where he was responsible for drafting a Strategic Transition Plan for the Transfer of Wartime Operational Control to the Republic of Korea.

It was during this tour of duty that he was awarded an ROK Commendation Medal by the Korean chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a Meritorious Honor Award from the State Department.

It was during Loynd’s term as commanding officer of Marine Tactical Warfare Squadron 1 that the squadron received the 2004 Royal N. Moore Eletronic Warfare Squadron of the Year Award from the Marine Corps Aviation Association.

Loynd earlier also served as a qualified Russian Foreign Area Officer.

His other military decorations include Legion of Merit, a Defense Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, a Meritorious Service Medal, an Air Medal with Combat V, an Air Medal with Strike Flight Numeral 3, a Joint Service Commendation Medal, a Navy Commendation Medal and a Navy Achievement Medal.

Loynd, who will begin work at the Pentagon on June 28, will be replaced by Colonel Scott Loch.

For Loynd, “It has been a wonderful three years with many heartfelt memories.  My family and I wish all the best, and say “Si Yu’us Ma’ase” to our lifelong friends on Guam, Tinian and Saipan.”