SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras –
U.S. Army Col. Robert J. Harman, an Army Ranger with 24 years of service, assumed command of Joint Task Force-Bravo June 30, 2015, during a change of command ceremony at Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras.
Civic and military leaders from the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa, U.S. Southern Command, and Honduras joined the hundreds of Soldiers, Airmen and Marines who gathered to watch Harman receive command from U.S. Army Col. Kirk C. Dorr, JTF-Bravo's outgoing commander.
Gen. John F. Kelly, Commander of U.S. Southern Command, presided over the ceremony, during which he underscored the strategic significance of JTF-Bravo to the region.
"JTF-Bravo is an essential part of SOUTHCOM, because what you do matters," Kelly said. "It matters to me, it matters to the United States, and most importantly it matters to the people of Central America."
Kelly cited various examples to support his claim, to include JTF-Bravo's disaster-relief efforts following Tropical Storm Hana, its regular medical exercises in the remote parts of Honduras and Central America, and its combined efforts with the Government of Honduras to reduce drug trafficking in the Department of Gracias a Dios.
"The bad guys got the message," Kelly said, referring to the Task Force's efforts to reduce transnational organized crime. "The United States is standing by the Honduran Armed Forces, as together we work to deflect the flow of illegal drugs, diminish the power of criminal networks, and strengthen government presence throughout Honduras."
Dorr received the Honduran Medal of Merit, First Class, in May for his contributions to bi-lateral relations during the past year. Kelly also presented him with the Defense Superior Service Medal prior to the start of the ceremony for the task force's accomplishments during Dorr's time in command. He leaves JTF-Bravo to undergo a fellowship at Harvard University.
During his remarks, Dorr called the Task Force "a regional force for good" and referenced its teamwork and dedication as key ingredients in that "force for good."
"It has been a dynamic year here...and this team of teams--Joint Service Members, foreign service nationals, Department of the Army Civilians and contractors--brought their best every single day, putting themselves in harm's way at times, just as their predecessors have done for over three decades now here at Soto Cano," he said.
Harman, Dorr's successor, comes to JTF-Bravo from Ft. Benning, GA, where he served as the Deputy Commander - Forward of the 75th Ranger Regiment.
"I am set to carry the torch ensuring this great element is prepared and enabled to faithfully, and dutifully, conduct our important mission in Central America," he said.
By assuming command of JTF-Bravo, Harman begins a new chapter in the history of the U.S.'s oldest joint task force, which dates back to 1983, when it was then called "Joint Task Force-Alpha."
As guests of the Republic of Honduras, JTF-Bravo maintains the only all-weather, day-or-night capable strategic airfield in the region that supports military and civilian aircraft as large as the C-5 Galaxy. It provides a forward presence for U.S. Southern Command in order to enhance regional security, stability and cooperation.