By Franklin FisherJuly 21, 2017
CAMP CASEY, South Korea -- An air defense artillery officer who is a graduate of West Point and whose service includes assignments in Iraq, Qatar and Korea, assumed command of U.S. Army Garrison Casey July 21 in a ceremony here.
Lt. Col. Brian A. Jacobs assumed command of U.S. Army Garrison Casey, replacing Lt. Col. Jon R. Gardner, who moves to a new assignment after commanding USAG Casey for the past two years.
Jacobs' most recent previous assignment was in Qatar as Deputy Commanding Officer for the 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade in support of Operation Spartan Shield.
The 10 a.m. ceremony went forward inside the Carey Physical Fitness Center, and was preceded by an award ceremony in which Gardner received the Meritorious Service Medal for his service as the USAG Casey commander.
USAG Casey runs the day-to-day operation of Camp Casey and Camp Hovey, both in Dongducheon. The garrison mainly supports those elements of the 2nd Infantry Division/ROK-US Combined Division stationed in the Camp Casey enclave.
It provides water, electricity, upkeep of roads, barracks, motor pools and other facilities, as well as sports and recreation programs for Soldiers and civilians.
During remarks at the ceremony, Col. Brandon D. Newton, Commander, U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud and Area I, of which USAG Casey is a part, said Gardner had been a "lynchpin" in supporting Area I's "transformation." The term refers to a major repositioning of forces currently underway -- by gradual, carefully orchestrated stages -- in which U.S. forces are moving from Area I south to Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek.
"He's led the Casey enclave tirelessly during a time that all of Area I has been forging ahead with the detailed planning and complex muscle movements of what we call transformation…" Newton said.
But Gardner has also had a marked impact on the people of the Casey garrison community, Newton said.
"In the past two years, Jon Gardner has brought to bear a knowing eye and steady hand to the support and quality of life of more than 12,000 Soldiers and civilians within the Camp Casey-Camp Hovey enclave," said Newton.
Newton named a variety of projects Gardner had seen through to success, including the refurbishing or remodeling of numerous barracks and offices.
He'd also worked skillfully to support the needs of the 2nd Infantry Division/ROK-U.S. Combined Division, and had "deftly managed the arrival and settling in of three separate rotations" of combat brigades.
"Jon," said Newton, addressing Gardner directly, "your straightforward, hands-on, committed stewardship of the Casey enclave, has led it successfully through these crucial years of transformation.
"The garrison whose colors you've passed this morning to your successor, is one that's now squarely positioned for the next, equally crucial phase of transformation, here at the tip of the spear," Newton said.
Gardner's commitment to the well-being of Soldiers had amounted to "an eyes-on, boots-on-the-ground effort to foster" their individual well-being and safety. As part of this, Gardner had routinely on Friday nights walked about an entertainment district outside Camp Casey by way of "keeping a finger on the pulse of Soldier life and safety," Newton said.
To Jacobs, Newton said "you have assumed command of a garrison that will play an increasingly pivotal role, as transformation proceeds on the Korean peninsula. We look forward to having you here" over the next two years, he said.
In his farewell remarks, Gardner thanked various people he'd worked with during his two years as USAG Casey commander, including the garrison's Soldiers, who stood in company formation during the ceremony and from whose ranks were drawn the members of the morning's ceremonial color guard.
"Gardner thanked them "for the work you do every day," and said he'd seen them carry out their duties, "with pride every day."
"Please trust me when I say that I appreciate the dedication of everyone in this room for working to improve the lives of everyone that comes into contact with Camp Casey," said Gardner. "Not just those that work on Camp Casey but those that live and work outside the gates as well.
"There isn't a single day that goes by without everyone on this camp being impacted by the work of the garrison staff," he said.
"Everything from driving in the front gate in the morning, to buying coffee, turning on the computer in your office, flushing the toilet, and enjoying the lights and air conditioning in the gym," he said. "Everyone is impacted by the garrison, every single day, and your hard work is appreciated.
"This has been the best assignment of my 27-year career," said Gardner, "and after two years as the Camp Casey garrison commander, I am proud of the garrison where I was a member of the team. The greatest part of this assignment will always be the people, the Soldier and civilians, both U.S. and Korean."
At an earlier point in his farewell remarks, Gardner also thanked various garrison personnel by name, including the other members of the Casey garrison command group, including its administrative support team.
To them, said Gardner, "I will miss you more than you will ever know."
Early in his remarks as the new USAG Casey commander, Jacobs recalled his first tour of duty in Korea as an air defense artillery officer.
"This time 13 years ago I stood about a mile from here taking command of an Avenger Battery on Camp Casey. To now return as the Camp Casey garrison commander is beyond words humbling, and I am truly grateful."
Addressing himself for a moment to Newton, Jacobs said "I look forward to learning from you over the next year and carrying the ball forward in support of the senior commander's and your priorities."
During the awards ceremony that preceded the change-of-command ceremony, Newton presented Gardner the Meritorious Service Medal. Gardner received the award because while in command at Casey he "adroitly delivered and integrated base support to 12,000 Soldiers in the Casey/Hovey" community, according to the written citation that accompanied the award.
Jacobs is a 1999 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental geography. He is also a graduate of the Command and General Staff College, the Air Defense Artillery Captains Career Course, and Air Defense Artillery Officer Basic Course.
He's served in a variety of strategic, operational and combat assignments, including platoon leader, battalion and division staff positions.
Prior to his most recent assignment in Qatar, Jacobs served as assistant executive officer for the Assistant Chief of Staﬀ for Installation Management. He has also served as an Army analyst in the Commander's Initiatives Group for the Commander of United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command/United States Forces Korea; battalion executive officer for 2nd Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment in Korea from 2011 to 2012; and battalion S-4 and battery commander with the 5th Battalion, 5th Air Defense Artillery Regiment in Korea from 2003 to 2005. Jacobs also completed a one-year combat deployment to Iraq with 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, serving as an adviser to the Iraqi Border Police.
Jacobs' awards and decorations include the Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal. He has also earned the Army Staff Badge, Air Assault Badge and Parachutist Badge.