Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras —
Military change-of-command ceremonies are a time-honored tradition that formally symbolize the transfer of command from the outgoing commander to the incoming commander.
U.S. Army Col. Steven Barry, Joint Task Force Bravo (JTF-B) commander, passed that symbol of leadership in spirit to the new JTF-B commander, Army Col. John D. Litchfield, in a virtual ceremony presided over by U.S. Southern Command commander Adm. Craig Faller, Aug. 5, 2020 at Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras.
Barry is a native of Hamilton, New Jersey and graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1996.
Serving most of his career in armor and cavalry assignments, Barry commanded the 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Stryker Squadron at Fort Carson, Colo., where he supervised the fielding of the first-ever double-V hull Strykers in the U.S. Army.
Upon completion of this command, the Army assigned Barry to serve on the Joint Staff, where he served as the Strategic Assessments Branch Chief and then the Plans Integration Branch Chief.
Through Barry’s leadership, JTF-B’s efforts along with multilateral support with partner nations, have made it possible to maintain a forward presence across Central America by providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to countries in need.
“We have saved lives through aeromedical evacuations and improved the livelihood of thousands of people by providing basic medical services, fighting wildfires, and donating supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic, all while staying postured to assist in disaster relief at a moments’ notice,” said Barry.
“I could not be more proud of the professionalism and dedication of the team here. The task force is in capable hands and I look forward to seeing this much-needed work as we welcome Colonel Litchfield to our dynamic team.”
With every change of command and transition of a new commander comes new perspectives to an always evolving but ever-vigilant mission. Prior to his assumption of command at JTF-B, Litchfield’s thirty-one years of combined enlisted and commissioned service in the U.S. Army has spanned a wide range of both conventional and special operations missions.
As a field grade officer, Litchfield served in a special mission unit and an interagency assignment, before becoming a company commander and later, executive officer in 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group in Okinawa, Japan. He later served as the aide-de-camp for the commanding general of a U.S. task force conducting detention operations and support to the rule of law in Afghanistan.
“I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to lead Joint Task Force-Bravo and continue building relationships with our valued partners throughout the region,” Litchfield said in his remarks at the ceremony. “Now, more than ever, I believe it is crucial that we continue seeking opportunities to grow and nourish those friendships while envisioning our shared future.”
In his remarks, Adm. Faller emphasized the importance of JTF-B’s mission to the peace and security of the Western Hemisphere.
“To the Joint Task Force-Bravo and all of the support, particularly the Army Support Activity, thank you. It’s a team of teams, and it takes a lot of effort to pull this together, but you do it, and you do it well, and you are making a difference. It matters because this hemisphere matters,” said Faller. “This hemisphere is our neighborhood, and everything about a neighborhood that’s important: shared values, the proximity…with friendship and family and culture. And most importantly, we are close in values. The values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law, human rights, respect for our non-commissioned officers…and the professionalism of our force. That’s why this task force matters.”
The contributions to the mission during Barry’s time at Soto Cano will leave a lasting impression on the people of Central America.
“It has been an absolute privilege to lead the men and women of Joint Task Force-Bravo over the past year. We have done tremendous work alongside our partners in Honduras and the rest of Central America-- from daily operations in the Northern tier (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras) to supporting the USNS Comfort in Costa Rica to building relationships in the jungles of Panama and many areas in between,” said Barry.
As we bid farewell to Col. Barry, we welcome Col. Litchfield as we continue to push forward and strengthen our partnerships…Progress through Unity.