Passing command: Units welcome new leaders in Wiesbaden

Story and photos by Karl Weisel
U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Public Affairs Office

It’s change of command season in U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden. As this issue was going to press, four units marked the transition of their senior leaders.

Two of the 66th Military Intelligence Brigade’s battalions held changes of command on Wiesbaden Army Airfield July 20 and 22.

The first ceremony saw the farewell of outgoing 2nd MI Battalion commander, Lt. Col. Jonathan E. Freeman, and the assumption of command by Lt. Col. Michael A. Cardenas. The second saw Lt. Col. Gary P. Miskovsky Jr. taking the 24th MI Bn. reins from Lt. Col. James G. Patterson.

During both ceremonies, Col. James G. Zellmer, 66th MI Bde. commander, praised the contributions of the battalions’ Soldiers and civilians in helping protect the security of Americans around the globe. Observing that many of their comrades are deployed in combat operations around the world, Zellmer said they are consistently challenged with supporting U.S. and Allied operations that extend well beyond U.S. Army Europe.

Zellmer also paid tribute to the Family members who stay behind while their spouses deploy and those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Freeman, who moved on to serve as deputy commander with the 66th MI, was noted for “consistently putting the welfare of his Soldiers before himself.”
Calling it “an incredible honor and a privilege” to lead 2nd MI, Cardenas thanked Soldiers, Families and civilians and mentors for their support.

During the 24th MI change of command, Patterson, who heads to an assignment in Afghanistan, said he was gratified to have served with “America’s finest men and women” and thanked host nation military partners, the 932nd Electronic Warfare Battalion, for their outstanding support. He also praised the volunteers and Family Readiness Group members who “made a world of difference to the entire battalion.”

Lt. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, U.S. Army Europe commander, helped ensure a smooth transition of leadership in the 5th Signal Command during a ceremony on Wiesbaden Army Airfield July 25.

During the ceremony, Hertling discussed the critical role communicators play in “the three things we do in the Army — shoot, move and communicate,” while welcoming incoming commander, Col. Bruce Crawford, and bidding farewell to former commander, Brig. Gen. Jeffrey G. Smith Jr.

Calling Crawford “the perfect leader to build upon the successes” of 5th Signal Command, Hertling said Smith’s leadership was marked by a “remarkable sense of precision and pride.” He also thanked Smith’s wife, Deborah, for her many volunteer contributions. “You both have been magnificent.”
Smith moves on to assume duties as deputy commander for proponency at the U.S. Army Cyber Command.

Crawford said it was “an honor and a privilege” to serve as the 29th commander of 5th Signal Command — a great organization with “a reputation for service and excellence.”

Community members gathered July 29 on Wiesbaden Army Airfield to witness the passing of command of the 1st Battalion, 214th Aviation Regiment, from Lt. Col. Richard G. Watson to Lt. Col. Edwin C. Brouse.