Army's only space brigade changes commanders
June 30, 2010
- Col. Jeffrey Farnsworth relinquishes command of 1st Space Brigade
- Col. Eric Henderson is charged with command of brigade
- Lt. Gen. Kevin T. Campbell officiates ceremony
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - A lone trumpet from Fort Carson's 4th Infantry Division Band signaled adjutants called the troops into formation on the parade grounds at Peterson's Patriot Park Tuesday morning.
The occasion marked a change of command from Col. Jeffrey A. Farnsworth to Col. Eric P. Henderson for "the Army's only Space Brigade."
The 1st Space Brigade has three one-of-a-kind battalions: the 53rd Signal Battalion (satellite control), the 1st Space Battalion, and the 117th Space Battalion Colorado Army National Guard. The 53rd Signal and 1st Space Battalions are charged with providing day-to-day Space support to the operational Army.
Since the fall of 2001 members of the 1st Space Brigade have been providing Space support to the Global War on Terrorism. Each day, the command's Active and Reserve Component Soldiers, Department of Defense Civilians, and Contractors work on the cutting edge of normalizing space support to the Total Army throughout the full spectrum of military operations.
The change of command event was officiated by U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Kevin T. Campbell, who in time-honored tradition received the brigade's colors from Farnsworth, the departing commander, and passed them to incoming commander Henderson, charging him with responsibility and welfare for the brigade.
"You get one chance at this in life to be a brigade commander - two years. The whistle blows and it is up to you how fast and hard you are going to run. I think Colonel Farnsworth has run pretty hard, pretty fast for the two years. But he was a man that never whipped his Soldiers. He did it with grace and ease. And made all the right things happen, mission wise, across this command that is spread out globally east to west.
"You certainly have done a superb job. I look at you and measure you in the terms of passion that you have shown for this brigade. The 120 percent you gave to your Soldiers and Officers day in and day out."
Campbell additionally pointed out that Farnsworth's next assignment is in the Pentagon with the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
"There couldn't be a better guy to go back to Washington and help us march forward with space, making sure that Army space stays engaged the way it should with the United States Air Force and the other services."
Campbell then turned to Henderson to welcome him as the new brigade commander.
"Eric has been in the unit before and is no stranger to this business," said Campbell, referring to Henderson's last assignment as the Space Support Element Division Chief, U.S. Army Central Command, Fort McPherson, Ga. /Camp Arifjahn, Kuwait. "He knows what the Soldiers need from Space.
"I wish you every success. What you need to understand when you look out on that field is you are not alone. There is your foundation; they will not let you down. I know you are not going to let them down. Thanks for taking on this job."
In his closing remarks, Farnsworth stated, "I have had the honor and privilege to serve the Soldiers of this great brigade for two fantastic years. In a few moments Eric Henderson will take charge and continue to advance the brigade colors and care for our wonderful Soldiers.
"And so it is that one more chapter of the 'Army's only space brigade' is now written and the next chapter begun.
"Upon reflection it is a remarkable chapter. Not for anything I have done but for the great accomplishments made by the nearly 1,000 Soldiers in 14 companies and four detachments stationed or deployed in 11 different countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Eric, you are getting a great first-in-space team. There is none better. I've asked these control warriors, space warriors, and space cowboys to provide you with the same great support they have given me. I know they will, and I am confident that they will attain new heights on your watch."
With the customary idiom - all current policies and standard operating procedures are still in effect - the Black Hills, S.D., native Henderson said to the troops and audience, "To the Soldiers I see here today and across the globe I will do my best to lead. And I am honored to serve with you."
Prior to the ceremony, Campbell awarded Farnsworth with the Legion of Merit Medal for meritorious service as commander of the 1st Space Brigade, and Brig. Gen. Stuart C. Pike, Assistant Adjutant General for Space, Colorado National Guard presented Farnsworth with the Colorado Meritorious Service Medal.