SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras –
U.S. Army Col. Brian T. Hughes, an officer in aviation and distinguished military graduate from East Tennessee State University, assumed command of Joint Task Force-Bravo July 7, during a change of command ceremony at Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras.
Honduran government officials, U.S. embassy representatives, including U.S. ambassador James Nealon, U.S. Southern Command representatives and Honduran military officers, joined the Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors and Marines of JTF-Bravo and the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force to witness the change of command between Hughes and the outgoing JTF-Bravo commander, U.S. Army Col. Robert J. Harman.
U.S. Navy Adm. Kurt W. Tidd, SOUTHCOM commander, presided over the ceremony, during which he acknowledged the importance of JTF-Bravo for SOUTHCOM, the United States and Central America.
"What you do here makes a difference," said Tidd, addressing the troops. "You bring urgently needed aid and relief in times of disasters. You helped our partners battle deadly wildfires, both here in Honduras and then in Panama. You are providing outstanding support to Belize and Honduras as they work to rid their countries of criminal networks. You provide medical services to tens of thousands of people in remote and rural villages. Every single day, you contribute to the good relations that we share between our nations."
The admiral then spoke about Harman, who assumed command of JTF-Bravo June 30, 2015. During Harman's tenure, he led a diverse staff, formed by five major supporting commands and eight directorates, consisting of approximately 600 service members. Under Harman's leadership, JTF-Bravo participated in numerous multinational engagements that promoted mutual trust, effective communication and enabled interoperability with partner nations. Harman leaves JTF-Bravo to assume a position as the executive officer to the SOUTHCOM commander.
"I will say that this is the best unit I have been a part of because what I have seen is a lot of people who are constantly evolving and working together as one," said Harman during his farewell speech. "I once defined the tip of the spear as the element that was closing on the target, and I lived that until the day I got here and realized I had mis-defined the tip of the spear. I now see it -- it's the handshakes, the outreach; it's JTF-Bravo service members enabling action, enabling others to achieve success ... A simple MEDRETE (medical readiness training exercise) goes a long way; a simple fire eradication goes a long way. We just see ourselves as doing our jobs, but I hope you see you are the tip of the spear not only to SOUTHCOM, but to our great nation."
After Harman bid JTF-Bravo service members a final farewell, he embraced Hughes, who served as the Army Special Operations Aviation Command operations officer and interim chief of staff at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, followed by a National Security Fellowship at the University of North Carolina prior to assuming command of JTF-Bravo.
"To the members of Joint Task Force-Bravo, I'm truly humbled and honored to be a member of such a great organization," said Hughes. "Your professionalism, high standards, and discipline in the execution of your missions are critical to regional security, stability, legitimacy, and our relations with our partners. One team, one fight."