SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras –
The weather was as warm as the welcoming hearts of Joint Task Force-Bravo personnel when Gen. Douglas M. Fraser, U.S. Southern Command commander handed command over to Col. Ross A. Brown here, May 18.
Relinquished command was Col. Gregory D. Reilly who assumed command of JTF-B in February 2010. During his 15 months of leadership, Col. Reilly oversaw the deployment of an aviation task force to Haiti, ensuring four UH-60s flew 341 mission-hours and transported 1,498 personnel including the First Lady of the United States.
Col. Reilly's renewed emphasis on task force support to the Department of Defense initiative Operation Central Skies, led directly to three successful drug interdiction operations, which resulted in seizures of more than 400 kilograms of cocaine and the aircraft transporting the drugs.
Col. Reilly also directed disaster relief efforts in Guatemala in response to Tropical Storm Agatha. Among many other accomplishments, he commanded personnel who led 23 medical missions throughout the Joint Operations Area, the Dominican Republic and Suriname treating 20,300 patients and performing 4,690 surgeries.
Col. Reilly advances to Southern Command where he will be Chief Commander's Action Group.
Assumed command was Col. Ross A. Brown, an Armor officer commissioned into the Army from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1987. More recently, Colonel Brown was assigned to the Pentagon as a Strategic Planner in the Army Office of the Chief of Staff where he was the lead action officer and author for the Army's 2008 Posture Statement then, most recently, was the Senior Fellow of the Center for a New American Security.
Attendance of the ceremony was high, which exhibits the importance of the JTF-B relationship with the local community.
Many distinguished visitors attended the change of command ceremony including; Hugo Llorens, U.S. Honduran Ambassador, Simon Henshaw, Tegucigalpa U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission, Marlon Pascua Cerrato, Honduran Minister of Defense and Paola Castro, Comayagua Governor.
Participating units were unfazed by the relentless sun as temperatures crept into the 90-degree category. The 1st Battalion 228th Aviation Regiment, Army Forces, Joint Security Forces, Medical Element and 612th Air Base Squadron all had flights present to witness the JTF-B guidon exchange hands.
The passing of the guidon is a time-honored tradition signifying the responsibility associated with the command. The command sergeant major, representing the backbone of the battalion, hands the guidon to the outgoing commander who then passes the guidon to the reviewing officer, signifying the return of the responsibility he was entrusted with upon assuming command. The reviewing officer then passes the guidon to the incoming commander, demonstrating his confidence in the commander's ability to handle the responsibility of command.
Following the change of command ceremony, Col. Brown is now responsible for leading JTF-B which is comprised of U.S. military and civilian personnel and Honduran civilians who support and conduct joint, combined and interagency operation to support democratic development in Central America. JTF-B also conducts counter-illicit trafficking operations, security cooperation and humanitarian civic assistance in support of the United States Government and partner nations in order to protect the homeland and achieve security and stability throughout Central America.