FORT BENNING, Ga. (USASOC News Service, June 26, 2015) -- "Vanek left it all on the battlefield ... Chris, you are one of my heroes," said Lt. Gen. Raymond A. Thomas, former 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment commander and Distinguished Honorary Member of the Regiment. "You have carried more than your share of the task. Thank you Ranger."
On the fourth and final day of the 2015 Ranger Rendezvous, Col. Christopher S. Vanek, 18th Regimental commanding officer, handed the reins of the regiment over to Col. Marcus S. Evans. He returns to the regiment after a two year absence; his last position was as commander of 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment from 2011 to 2013.
"My family and I are truly blessed and humble to lead this organization," Evans said.
Vanek assumed command of the 75th Ranger Regiment in the summer of 2013. He was commissioned as an infantry officer in 1989 upon graduation from Arizona State University. After serving with the 25th Infantry Division, then-Lt. Vanek was selected for assignment to 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, where he served as a rifle platoon leader from 1993 to 1994.
Staying true to Abrams' Charter, Vanek left the regiment and returned in 1998 with 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. He served with 1st Ranger Battalion out of Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia, as a battalion logistics officer, rifle company commander, battalion liaison, operations and executive officer.
From 2004 to 2006, he served at the Regimental Headquarters as the regimental operations officer and deputy commanding officer while also serving as the Joint Task Force Operations Officer in Operation Enduring Freedom. In 2009, he returned to the 75th Ranger Regiment where he again served as the Regiment's Deputy Commanding Officer until 2011.
"There is no greater privilege than commanding the 75th Ranger Regiment. Even more so when it is at war," Vanek said as he addressed the audience. "Rangers, it has been an honor to serve with and for you. You are getting no finer officer than Col. Marcus Evans."
Evans received his commission in the Infantry through ROTC in 1994 and would later serve as a platoon leader and staff officer with 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. Later, he served with 2nd Ranger Battalion out of Joint Base Lewis -- McChord, Washington, as the battalion assistant operations officer from 2002 to 2004.
Upon completion of the Command and General Staff College in 2005, Evans returned to the regiment and served at 1st Battalion as the battalion liaison officer, operations officer and executive officer. He later transferred to the Regimental Headquarters as the regimental operations officer.
Though the ceremony served as a platform to recognize the incoming and outgoing Regimental Commander, each speaker commended the exceptional performance of the Rangers in the 75th Ranger Regiment.
"It's hard to overstate the impact the 75th Ranger Regiment has had. The Regiment continues to be the standard bearer for our Army," Thomas said. "This Regiment has been in continuous combat since Oct. 19, 2001. Think about it, there are members in this formation who were five to seven years old when this war began."