By Gregory Ripps, 470th Military Intelligence Brigade writer-editorJuly 18, 2013
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-Fort Sam Houston, Texas -- Even while dark clouds hung threateningly over the MacArthur Parade Field here, the 470th Military Intelligence Brigade brightly shined July 17 for its change of command.
In traditional ceremonies marking the change, Col. Timothy A. Chafos succeeded Col. Pierre Gervais as commander of the brigade. The reviewing officer was Maj. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, commanding general of the Intelligence and Security Command, whose headquarters are at Fort Belvoir, Va.
The change of command ceremonies included the passing of the colors, a walk-around inspection, a pass in review, and music provided by the 323rd Army Band. Arrayed on the parade field were formations of Soldiers representing five battalions and two companies of the 470th MI Brigade.
In his speech, Fogarty pointed out that three of the brigade's constituent battalions were not represented because two were deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and another was preparing to deploy. He also noted that the 470th was the largest brigade in INSCOM, which includes 18,000 Soldiers and civilians.
During the two years Gervais commanded the brigade, more than 1,100 of its Soldiers deployed, and almost 400 of its Soldiers are on current deployments, according to Fogarty.
"The work you do at Fort Sam Houston and deployed forward saves lives," Fogarty said to brigade members. "I commend you on your superb performance … exercising full-spectrum intelligence support…."
After recognizing the brigade's "tremendous accomplishments" under Gervais's command, Fogarty said, "The 470th is going to remain in great hands."
Chafos, a career intelligence officer, most recently served as deputy chief of staff for intelligence with the Combined Joint Inter-Agency Task Force-Afghanistan.
"As I've begun to learn about the 470th, I have been immediately impressed by the complexity and diversity of missions performed by the brigade in the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility and around the globe," Chafos said. "Even more impressive are the people of the brigade, who reflect practiced expertise and determined purpose."
After broadly outlining the work he said needed to be done, Chafos said he and the brigade would be ready for the challenges sure to come.
"Grounded in the Army Values and inspired by our Warrior Ethos, I am confident we will excel at the first task of an Army: to find, know and never lose the enemy," Chafos said in concluding his speech. "We will be well served by a sense of urgency and tenacity, professional and physical fitness and, above all, integrity, for in truth lies victory."