Hunter Farewells Familiar Leader, Hails New Garrison Commander
June 3, 2009
<b> HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga., </b> Aca,!" Lieutenant Colonel Jose Aguilar assumed command of Hunter Army Airfield from Lt. Col. Dan Whitney during a change of command ceremony at Hunter's Truscott Air Terminal, May 28.
Fort Stewart's outgoing garrison commander, Col. Todd Buchs, said Lt. Col. Whitney was a vital member of the Chatham County and greater Savannah/Hilton Head Island area. Colonel Buchs added that Lt. Col. Whitney gave his residents, Soldiers, Marines, Coastguardmen, Airmen and their Families opportunities to meet and interact with the hospitable citizens of the Coastal Empire.
"He did that with energy and enthusiasm," Col. Buchs said. "He worked with the school boards, chambers of commerce and other local organizations, seeking out every opportunity to speak to groups in various forums."
The terminal, filled with well-wishers, said goodbye to Lt. Col. Whitney, who is relocating to the Pentagon, and wife, Maj. Erin Whitney, who has also be transferred to National Capital Region, and welcomed the new incoming Hunter Army Airfield commander, Lt. Col. Aguilar.
The Whitneys have been geographically separated the past two years. During the ceremony Lt. Col. Whitney thanked his wife for her guidance and support.
Major Whitney is relocating from Fort Bragg to Washington, D.C., to the United States Agency for International Development where she will begin a two-year program. When she completes the program, she'll return to her psychological operations career in the Army, to wherever she's assigned.
"We never seemed to be in the same country at the same time," lamented Lt. Col. Whitney. "I love you and I promise we will live together for at least two years in Washington DC. That's my hope."
Soldiers, civilians and community leaders got their last glimpse of Lt. Col. Whitney and Maj. Whitney as supporters filed through the receiving line at Truscott after the ceremony.
A reception for the incoming commander followed at the Hunter Club, where guests welcomed Lt. Col. Aguilar and his spouse, Suzanne, to Hunter and the Savannah community.
Lieutenant Colonel Aguilar was previously Deputy Commander of the Portland District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The District manages an annual program worth more than $450 million in combined civil works and environmental restoration projects.
Lieutenant Colonel Aguilar said he is looking forward to being in charge of Team Hunter.
"It is both a privilege and an honor to take command of such a great organization," said Lt. Col. Aguilar. "The Savannah community has a history of supporting the military. I have met some of the leaders from the community and look forward to working with them."
In keeping with tradition, Lt. Col. Aguilar kept his remarks brief. He expressed gratitude towards Lt. Col. Whitney for a "well synchronized and professionally executed transition."
Lieutenant Colonel Aguilar received his U. S. Army commission in 1991 and has served in leadership and staff positions in Europe, the Middle East and throughout the United States.
Although Lt. Col. Aguilar's three children, Jocelyn, Allison, and Joey, were in school in Portland completing their final exams during the ceremony, Lt. Col. Aguilar said he thinks the transition will be an easy one for his Family.
"I know this is a Family community and there are plenty of things for them to do," Lt. Col. Aguilar said. "We look forward to that."