Colbrook leads USAG Bavaria
July 1, 2014
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- Two men clad in lederhosen fired sawed-off muskets to kick off the change of command ceremony, here. Only in Bavaria.
More than 400 guests filled VIP seats and two sets of bleachers outside the Garrison Headquarters Building to watch Col. Mark Colbrook assume command of U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria from Col. James Saenz.
Kathleen Marin, region director, Installation Management Command Europe, presided over the ceremony.
"I'll expect you to ask the right questions of your team and of yourself," Marin said to Colbrook, "to develop a sustainable path to success both now and well into the future, while deepening trust within the community and with our partners."
Colbrook comes to the garrison after serving on the Army Staff as the chief of Unmanned Aircraft Systems, and has held several aviation and military intelligence positions throughout his career.
Keeping with tradition, Colbrook kept his remarks brief.
"We are truly grateful for how thoughtfully you have embraced us and hope we meet or exceed your expectations," Colbrook said.
"To our German partners, I apologize for my lack of German speaking skills, but it has been 26 years since my last German lesson," he said, garnering smiles from the audience.
Both Colbrook and Marin thanked Saenz and his family for their service.
"You both never forgot what it was like to be a young Soldier trying to find their bearings in a new community," Marin said to Saenz and his wife, Leslie.
Marin lauded Saenz for his leadership, specifically for his role over the past two years in transforming and consolidating two indirect garrisons in Hohenfels and Garmisch under USAG Bavaria.
During his speech, Saenz recognized a host of military and civilian personnel, and thanked them for their role in his success. He ended his remarks lightheartedly.
"As many of you know, there's no crying in garrison," he said with a smile. "A karate man cries on the inside."
Saenz's next assignment will be as chief of Strategic Initiative Group for the Office of the Assistance Chief of Staff for Installation Management in Washington, D.C.
Following the ceremony, guests formed a line to bid "auf wiedersehen" to the Saenz family and attended a reception to welcome the Colbrooks.