JFK Special Warfare Center and School gets new commander
August 20, 2010
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Brigadier General Bennet S. Sacolick did not mince words in his own change of command ceremony.
"It may not be evident in the brevity of my speech, but I'd like to assure all of you that I have a profound appreciation for this organization's mission and purpose," he said during the ceremony to an audience of Soldiers and distinguished guests.
In this ceremony, held Tuesday on Fort Bragg's John F. Kennedy Plaza, Sacolick assumed command of the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School.
"I'm humbled and honored to lead this organization predicated on providing quality education, with quality instructors, to every single member of our three regiments," he said.
These regiments make up the Army's special operations community: Special Forces, Civil Affairs and Military Information Support Operations. The Special Warfare Center and School, which serves as the Army's special operations university, trains and educates Soldiers and servicemembers throughout the Department of Defense in advanced unconventional warfare techniques.
At 54 years old, Sacolick has commanded the Army's 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta and served with the Central Intelligence Agency as a senior service college fellow. While he attended high school in Cincinnati, Ohio, he said he has spent most of his adult life in Fayetteville,
which he now considers his home.
Sacolick said his priorities as the SWCS commanding general will be professionalizing and educating the Army's special operations force.
"We have expertly trained Soldiers, but we are lacking in education," he said, noting the difference between tactical and operational training, and academic education. His goal, he said, is to establish SWCS students' reputations as master practitioners in special operations.
Sacolick, who has spent the last two years as the SWCS deputy commanding general, assumed command from Maj. Gen. Thomas R. Csrnko, who is retiring from military service after 36 years of service.
"This is going to be an exceptional non-transition," said Lt. Gen. John F. Mulholland Jr., commanding general, U.S. Army Special Operations Command. "For the first time in my life, I have the opportunity to see a seamless transition in a critical organization."
Mulholland said SWCS will continue to run at full capacity, without slowing down to allow time for a new commander to settle in. He credited this to the fact that Sacolick has been actively engaged in each of the organization's major initiatives over the last two years.
"This command will continue to create the world's best special operations Soldiers," he said. "SWCS is, arguably, the central organizing entity for all Army special operations."
"The man who leads this organization is a critical asset to our force," Mulholland said, referring to both the incoming and outgoing SWCS commanders.
Specifically honoring Csrnko, Mulholland said it was fitting that his final assignment was commanding SWCS.
"This has been Thom's passion throughout his career," Mulholland said. Csrnko, a career Special Forces officer, has also served as the commanding general of the Special Operations Command in Europe and the U.S. Army Special Forces Command down the road from SWCS on Fort Bragg.
Csrnko, who assumed command of SWCS in 2008, will retire with his family to Colorado. The morning's change of command ceremony doubled as Csrnko's retirement ceremony.
"SWCS is the most complex and dynamic organization in the Department of Defense," Csrnko said in his remarks during the ceremony. "(Sacolick) is the right leader to take this organization into the future."