Eglin Air Force Base, Fl.-- Soldiers, family members and friends gathered on a cloudy Florida summer day on the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne)'s Parade Field to witness the Group Change of Command on June 15, 2017.

Col. Michael Ball relinquished command of the Red Empire to Col. Patrick Colloton, after two years of command. Colloton returns to the group as a familiar face who has history and solid reputation within the group.

The presiding officer for the ceremony, Brig. Gen. Edwin J. Deedrick, deputy commanding general of 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne), shared his personal observations of the two commanders with the audience.

Deedrick thanked Ball and his family for his service to 7th SFG (A), 1st SFC (A) and the nation.

The 7th SFG (A) achieved many tremendous accomplishments and accolades during Ball's 24 months of command.

As Ball delivered his parting remarks he reminded the audience that his guidance remained consistent from two years prior when he assumed command. "Two years ago I said that I wanted you to succeed in spite of any obstacle, and we did," he said.

After assuming command of the unit, Colloton took to the podium to address the Soldiers that he will lead for the next two years.

"My family and I are blessed to be back here," said Colloton. "I thank Col. Ball and his wife for taking care of the Red Empire. The sun never sets on the Red Empire, I am humbled and honored to take command."

In 2001, Colloton graduated from the Special Forces Qualification Course and his first Special Forces Assignment was in 2nd Battalion, 7th SFG (A).

Colloton has served at all levels of leadership, returning to 7th SFG (A) as the Charlie Company commander, executive officer and operations officer for 1st Battalion from 2008 to 2010. He then served as commander of 1st Battalion from October 2011 to October 2013.

The rain continued to fall during the ceremony, but it didn't diminish the significance of the event. The showers served as another reminder that the sun truly never sets on the Red Empire.