PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Col. Thomas L. James assumed command of the 1st Space Brigade from the outgoing commander, Col. James R. Meisinger, during a change of command ceremony conducted July 11 at Patriot Park here.

Lt. Gen. David L. Mann, commanding general, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, hosted the ceremony for the 1st Space Bde., which provides critical space capabilities and products to Warfighters and combatant commanders.

After passing the brigade colors to the new commander, Mann in his remarks said, "I'm sure all of us would agree the command is one of the most important positions in our Army. No other position has more responsibilities or has more of an impact on a unit's success. In fact being selected for command is one of the ultimate votes of confidence that one can receive from his superiors. It's certainly a significant achievement in any officer's career.

"It requires the right officer, the right leader, to lead Soldiers," Mann added. "Col. Meisinger has been that leader. He has led this brigade with distinction and with class during one of our nation's longest wars. I've relied heavily on Jim's experience, his knowledge and his insights because I knew that in every case I would be provided with mature thoughtful and well-reasoned recommendations."

As the outgoing commander, Meisinger thanked the Soldiers, civilians and contractors of the 1st Space Bde.

"They were the best part of every day," Meisinger said. "And they're the ones who are all around the world right now executing the mission."

Meisinger then turned his attention to the new commander.

"Tom, I have known you and I've admired you since the summer of 2001 when we met in the first FA40 course," he said. "You are extraordinarily qualified. You will be able to take the brigade to new levels, I'm sure. And I look forward to supporting you from the Army staff."

Upon taking command of the brigade, James thanked Meisinger for "a smooth transition of such a top-notch organization."

"It's great to be back in Colorado Springs," James said. "My wife Nicole and I look forward to our time with the 1st Space Bde. team.

"Lt. Gen. Mann, thank you for your trust and confidence in allowing me the distinct privilege of commanding this incredible unit," he continued.

"To the Soldiers, DA civilians, and families of the 1st Space Bde., I've had the very good fortune to work closely with you over the last dozen years or so, and I've seen first-hand the incredible work you do both from inside your ranks as well as on the business end of the capabilities you provide to the Warfighter," James said. "Your work spans the scope of the highest strategic levels right down to the Soldiers on patrol and in desperate contact with the enemy, and you do it well.

"It is my extreme honor to work amongst such a talented unit so committed to the security and safety of our great nation," James concluded.

Prior to the official ceremony, awards were presented to Meisinger and his wife. Mann presented the Legion of Merit Award to Meisinger for exceptionally meritorious service as commander of the 1st Space Bde.

Mann then awarded Meisinger's wife Shannon with the Commander's Award for Public Service and a certificate of appreciation for her contributions and efforts to the Soldiers and families of the 1st Space Bde.