State News

Camp Lejeune-based unit getting new commander

Posted September 17, 2010 4:02 a.m. EDT
Updated September 17, 2010 8:51 a.m. EDT

— The officer who led the Camp Lejeune-based 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit for four years is retiring, and a new commander will take his place.

The Marine Corps says a ceremony marking the change of command, including a formation of 1,000 Marines, will take place Friday morning at the base.

Col. Pete Petronzio, a native of Beverly, Mass., is retiring after 27 years with the Corps.

Petronzio led the 24th MEU in an offensive against the Taliban in Afghanistan’s Helmand province in 2008 and on a recent eight-month deployment to support relief efforts in Haiti and participate in training exercises in the Middle East, Africa and Europe. The unit returned to Lejeune last month.

Petronzio was first assigned to Camp Lejeune as a newly commissioned lieutenant in 1985. He served as a platoon commander, company executive officer and then as aide-de-camp for the commanding general at Lejeune before being assigned elsewhere in 1990.

His successor is Col. Robert Petit, of New Orleans, who spent the previous two years at Headquarters Marine Corps. Prior to that, he commanded the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, and served deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq.

A 32-year veteran of the Corps, Petit and his wife, Romayne, have three grown children, Kristian, Austyn and Ellen.