'Champion Brigade' welcomes new commander, caps week of changes
June 16, 2008
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (June 11, 2008) Ac"a,! A week of changes at the top ended here today with the 401st Army Field Support Brigade change of command as
Col. Jon K. Buonerba accepted the brigade colors from Brig. Gen. James C. McConville, Deputy Commanding General for Support, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).
Outgoing brigade commander Col. Dennis M. Thompson relinquished command after more than 17 months leading the brigade with subordinate elements conducting logistic support operations in three Southwest Asia countries.
In the past week, the brigade had already hosted ceremonies marking the assumption of responsibility by the new brigade command sergeant major and a change of command for the 3rd Battalion.
Fittingly, today's ceremony was conducted in a "clamshell" maintenance facility, filled with an audience from across the Bagram Airfield community, with members of the brigade from Afghanistan, Qatar, and Kuwait standing in the formation.
McConville highlighted the accomplishments of the brigade under Thompson's guidance, including fielding of badly needed M1151 Humvees and Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles to warfighting units across Afghanistan.
"Our troops are safer on the battlefield, because you fielded new 1151's and MRAPs that are saving lives every single day," he said. I could go on and on, but I want to leave you with one thought Ac"a,! it was (due to) your superior leadership and the great support your brigade has provided our Soldiers every single day - (that) many more of our Soldiers are going home to their families, alive."
In his farewell remarks Thompson, who next moves to Army Materiel Command headquarters at Fort Belvoir, Va., and a position in the Current Operations Branch, Deputy Chief of Staff, G3 (Operations) was most complimentary of the Soldiers, Army Civilians and contractors who make up the brigade.
"The Soldiers you see before you not only represent Army Materiel Command, and their presence in Afghanistan, but just as importantly, they signify the difference all champions of the 401st AFSB are making in Kuwait and Qatar, as well as here across the Afghanistan landscape," he said.
Thompson went on to relate the changes and increase in capability that had occurred since the brigade's forward headquarters was established at Bagram in February, 2007.
He highlighted the accomplishments of the brigade's staff, three battalions, two logistic support elements, and brigade logistic support teams across Southwest Asia.
"I take the time to list these accomplishments to emphasize all that these great champions have done and to remind you all of what this brigade can do for you," Thompson said. "I want to thank the CJTF leadership from both the 82d and 101st Airborne Divisions for making this as easy and rewarding as it has been."
Buonerba comes to brigade command from duty in The Pentagon with the Joint Staff as Readiness Division Chief in the Logistics Directorate (J4).
Prior to his Washington, D.C. assignment Buonerba commanded Army Field Support Battalion - Qatar; which today is the brigade's 1st Battalion, so he is no stranger to Southwest Asia and the operational environment which finds the "Champion Brigade" supporting both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
"I am extremely proud and honored to once again serve with such a fine group of professional Soldiers, civilians and contractors working towards a common goal - to provide superior support to our nation's effort to win the global war on terror," he said.
Buonerba is married to the former Naomi Ericson of Camarillo, Calif. They have three children - Kyle, Shawn and Matthew.