By Sgt. Maj. Williams, SETAF PAOJanuary 13, 2009
CASERMA EDERLE, Vicenza, Italy - During the Southern European Task Force Transformation Ceremony today, SETAF cased its old colors, ending the airborne chapter of its history, and uncased its new colors, signifying assumption of a new mission - serving as the Army component in support of U.S. Africa Command..
The ceremony followed an official announcement by the U.S. and Italian governments Dec. 3 in Rome that SETAF would become U.S. Army Africa.
"We are honored and privileged to be the first members of U.S. Army Africa," said Maj. Gen. William B. Garrett III, SETAF commanding general. "This is a huge responsibility, as our decisions and actions will establish the foundation that others will build upon in the years ahead."
Both Gen. William E. Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command, and Gen. Carter Ham, commander of U.S. Army Europe and 7th Army, attended the ceremony, which highlighted SETAF's long, proud history.
"I welcome all of you to the U.S. Africa Command team," Ward said. "I am confident that this great command is up to the challenge."
Garrett, who was promoted from brigadier general to major general in a ceremony the same day, said while SETAF's mission has changed, its relationship with Italian partners will not.
"The enduring relationship between the United States and Italy will only get stronger; new opportunities will spring from common objectives and a shared vision for a prosperous Africa," he said.
SETAF, stationed in Italy since 1955, has a long history of operating on the African continent and partnering with African nations. During the past 15 years, SETAF has provided crisis response, disaster relief and humanitarian assistance on the continent.
During the next year, SETAF will learn and grow in order to lay the foundation for future success as U.S. Army Africa, Garrett said. This foundation includes building and strengthening relationships with African army organizations, along with national and international partners, to promote peace, security and stability in Africa.