By Franklin FisherJuly 1, 2014
CAMP RED CLOUD -- The garrison that runs U.S. Army installations that support the bulk of the 2nd Infantry Division has a new commander following a June 30 ceremony here under clear, sunny skies.
With the martial strains of a military band sounding on the morning air, Col. Jack Haefner assumed command of U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud and Area I during a 10 a.m. ceremony in Uijeongbu on Camp Red Cloud's tree-lined Village Green parade field.
The garrison manages installations in the northwest of South Korea from the Demilitarized Zone south to a point about an hour north of Seoul, the nation's capital.
Haefner replaces Col. John M. "Mike" Scott, an Apache attack helicopter pilot who led the garrison for nearly two years. Scott moves to a new assignment at the Pentagon as Chief of Staff of Joint Force Development, J7.
Haefner's most recent previous assignment was as Assistant Chief of Staff, Engineer, at Eighth Army in Seoul.
Assembled on the field were the 2nd Infantry Division Band, Soldiers of the U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud, and civilians of the Area I Korean Service Corps.
But the morning's formation differed in at least two respects from that at which Scott became commander two years ago. It included members of the U.S. Air Force's 604th Air Support Operations Squadron, a unit stationed at Camp Red Cloud. And it featured a contingent of the garrison's civilian workforce, dressed for the occasion with the men in dark pants and white shirts, and women in dark skirts and white blouses.
In her remarks as keynote speaker, Debra D. Zedalis, director of Installation Management Command-Pacific Region, praised Scott's "solid and caring leadership" and "steadfast professionalism."
"Garrison commanders must create an environment where Soldiers and their families know they will be taken care of, twenty-four-seven," said Zedalis, "and that's exactly what Mike and his team did."
Scott's tenure saw numerous improvements that benefitted the Area I community, Zedalis said.
They included renovation of barracks and a family readiness center; a new Child Development Center and two new Child and Youth centers; and improvements to a building that serves as the one-stop central processing site for Soldiers and others starting an Area I tour of duty.
Scott also "always took a personal interest in mentoring" the garrison's civilian employees, and kept closely involved in fostering good services for Area I's youngsters.
Zedalis noted that the garrison under Scott's leadership had won numerous awards. They included, among others, first-place in the IMCOM-Pacific Region for the best Better Opportunities for Single (and unaccompanied) Soldiers, or BOSS, program in 2013; for the best large fire department; and awards for the quality of its commissaries and Exchanges.
Zedalis said Haefner was "no stranger to garrison business" having at one point commanded U.S. Army Garrison A.P. Hill in Virginia. Haefner's most recent assignment on the Eighth Army staff in Korea had afforded him "a wealth of knowledge that is well-suited for tackling" the challenges of leading the garrison over the next two years.
"I know you will continue to move the garrison forward in serving Soldiers, civilians and families and transforming to meet future needs," Zedalis said.
Scott, in his farewell remarks, said he departs the command "with many fond memories and an overwhelming sense of thankfulness."
He thanked the garrison's "hard-working and dedicated" staff, as well as its command teams at Camp Red Cloud and Camp Casey and their support staffs.
"Your day-to-day sacrifices and dedication has been a true inspiration to me, and I wish you all the very best," Scott said.
Scott reserved a special word of thanks for the Korean community, mentioning not only its civic leaders and organizations but the garrison's Korean employees and KATUSA Soldiers -- South Korean Soldiers assigned to duty with the U.S. Army.
Speaking his next few sentences in Korean, Scott said:
"You are such a vital part of the day-to-day activities of the garrison…And to all of you I offer my thanks and my very best wishes…I am and will always be, proud to be a member of this partnership," Scott said.
He also acknowledged the "crucial support and guidance" of several senior leaders, including Zedalis and Lt. Gen. Bernard S. Champoux, the commanding general of Eighth Army. And he thanked several current or former 2nd Infantry Division senior leaders, including its current commanding general, Maj. Gen. Thomas S. Vandal.
In brief remarks upon assuming command, Haefner thanked Zedalis and Vandal for their "confidence" in allowing him command of the garrison.
"I am humbled by this opportunity," said Haefner. "And I pledge to you…my very best to keep Area I strong, and to make it stronger."
He is a native of Buffalo, N.Y. and was commissioned in 1991 through the Reserve Officer Training Corps as a Second Lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers.
He holds a bachelor's degree in geology from Northeastern University, a master's in engineering management from the University of Missouri, and a master's in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College. He is a graduate of the Army's Engineer Officer Basic Course, Engineer Officer Advanced Course, Command and General Staff College, the Joint Forces Staff College, and U.S. Army War College.