‘Crown Jewel’ of U.S. Army in Europe welcomes new commander
July 8, 2011
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany (July 8, 2011) " Col. Bryan L. Rudacille assumed command of the 7th U.S. Army Joint Multinational Training Command (JMTC) from Brig. Gen. Steven L. Salazar in Grafenwoehr, Germany during a change of command ceremony today.
Rudacille was the commander of the 165th Infantry Brigade at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.
The ceremony was hosted on Grafenwoehr’s parade field before a formation of Soldiers from the Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the JMTC, the Joint Multinational Readiness Center, The 7th U.S. Army Noncommissioned Officer Academy, The 7th Warrior Training Brigade, the U.S. Army Garrison-Grafenwoehr and the German Army Noncommissioned Officer Academy, Training Group D, from the nearby town of Weiden"all elements of the Grafenwoehr Military Community.
“Out on that field stand the best trainers, made up of the finest warriors in the profession of arms. Each and every day, they train, coach, mentor and support the Armed Forces of our nation, and those of our allies, so that they are prepared for battle,” said Rudacille during his speech. “Bavaria is a beautiful place to live and work, and Germany is well known for its hospitality. Terri and I look forward to calling Grafenwoehr our home, and getting to meet our new friends and neighbors in the surrounding German Communities.”
Rudacille is a native of Fairfax, Va. He has previously served with the 1st Armored Division and the 7th Infantry Division.
His awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit award with the Oak Leaf Cluster, the Bronze Star with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Joint Commendation Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and the Iraq Campaign Medal.
Rudacille also wears the Ranger Tab and the Master Parachutist Badge.
Following the traditional passing of the colors Lt. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, the Commanding General of the U.S. Army in Europe and presiding officer,said Rudacille was selected for the position because of his distinguished record in combat and first-hand training experience.
“Lee Rudacille is a one-of-a-kind commander. I’ve heard of his exploits in combat, and have seen him commanding in the toughest environment imaginable. I know this Soldier and his capabilities,” said Hertling. “Welcome to the best place you’ll ever live.”
The JMTC is the U.S. Army’s premier training facility in Europe, and because of its proximity to other European nations and Africa, the Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels training areas provide training for U.S. and multinational units deploying to Afghanistan.
“This is the place where we train better than any other place in the world,” said Hertling. “This is the ‘crown jewel’ of the U.S. Army in Europe.”
Hertling credited Salazar with making many improvements to JMTC’s training and capabilities.
“Steve Salazar is one of the best trainers we have in the Army and he has significantly raised the level of training, and the bar of standards and discipline, during a time of war and increased requirements for alliance partnering,” said Hertling.
Salazar departs for Suffolk, Va. He is assigned as the Assistant Deputy Director for Joint Training at the Joint Warfighting Center. Salazar served 24 months at Grafenwoehr.
“The formation you see in front of you represents teamwork. This team did a great job representing 100 years of training excellence at Graf, past and present, and shaped a vision for the future as we marked the transformation from the Grafenwoehr Training Area to the Grafenwoehr Military Community " still a great place to train, but also now a great place to live, to serve and to grow,” said Salazar.
During his tenure at Grafenwoehr, the community was recognized by the Department of Army and the German government for its environmental stewardship programs. Likewise, transformation efforts improved medical support and behavioral health services.
“It’s no accident that we’ve not had a suicide in this community in nearly two years,” said Salazar. “Teamwork is the strength of this community. It has been great Soldiering with you.”