ADAZI, Latvia - Lt. Col. Jonathan S. Kluck assumes command of 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colorado, from Lt. Col. Stephen E. Capehart, the previous battalion commander after 2 years of command, in a change of command ceremony in the theater at Adazi Military Base, Latvia, May 4.
The ceremony was completed with video teleconference technology to account for the flower presentation to the wives of the outgoing and incoming commander.
The theater was filled with Soldiers from Alpha and Headquarters and Headquarters Company, and Latvian soldiers from Adazi for the event.
Col. Christopher R. Norrie, commander of 3rd ABCT, 4th ID, was guest speaker for the ceremony. He applauded Capehart's service to the battalion and its accomplishments.
"This battalion is one of the most capable armor battalions in the United States Army, and have proven its ability to stand alone, a thousand miles away from the rest of the brigade since February, while serving under Atlantic Resolve," Col. Norrie said.
Operation Atlantic Resolve is a U.S. -led endeavor to fulfill the U.S. commitment to NATO by rotating throughout Europe and training alongside NATO Allies and partners.
Then, in a unique direction for a change of command, Norrie began to read statements from Soldiers in the unit. Each statement praised a different aspect of Capehart, his energy, his care for the Soldiers, his commitment and involvement in activities, his passion for Star Wars.
In the ending moments in a period of time, there is the ultimate question every person wonders. Norrie answered the question with the statements as proof, Capehart did make a difference to the unit and to his Soldiers.
"I am just so proud to have been in your ranks even if it was only for a brief moment in time, " Capehart said. "My heart is full and I could not have asked for a better team. Thank you."
In his speech, Capehart expressed his gratitude to his superiors for their trust in his abilities, his company commanders and first sergeants, and all Soldiers of the silver lions for their duty and sacrifice.
"Your lethality is not in question, your presence and focus allows us to build and maintain readiness, which leads to deterring any adversary," Capehart said. "You are ready today, you will be ready tomorrow, you have done all that I asked and then some."
Lt. Col. Kluck praised his new unit and conveyed appreciation to his leaders, Col. Norrie and Maj. Gen. Ryan F. Gonsalves, commanding general of 4th ID, for their trust and confidence in his abilities. He promised to build on Capehart's efforts and continue Capehart's work.
Privately, Kluck commented the ceremony fell onto Latvian Restoration of Independence Day, when Latvia declared its independence of the Soviet Union.
The battalion had a color guard participating in the May 4 celebratory parade; there is a great honor when the Baltic nations choose to share their culture with Allies and partners, Kluck said.
"I'm certainly very honored that Col. (Ilm�rs Atis) Leji��, the brigade commander here in Adazi, is taking time out of his day to day to be there for this change of command," Kluck said. "I think that really shows, that they are as committed to this partnership as we are."
U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned in its 51st country area of responsibility to advance American strategic interests in Europe and Eurasia. The relationships we build during more than 1,000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnership and enhance global security.