GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- The 44th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 2nd Theater Signal Brigade, said farewell to one commander and welcomed another at a change of command ceremony May 24, 2018 in Grafenwoehr.

U.S. Army Lt. Col. Adam Sannutti transferred command to U.S. Army Lt. Col. Heather McAteer during a rain-soaked ceremony on the Tower Barracks Parade Field. No verbal commands were given to the formation of troops during the ceremony, rather commands were relayed using traditional Signal Corps red and white semaphore flags.

U.S. Army Col. Jeff Worthington, commander of the 2nd Theater Signal Bde., said under Sannutti's command the battalion has greatly enhanced the overall readiness posture of the brigade and U.S. Army Europe.

"Whether reacting to no-notice deployments in support of Atlantic Resolve, or deployments to Juniper Cobra in Israel, the 44th ESB has consistently been Europe's varsity communicators," Worthington said.

The 44th Expeditionary Signal Bn. is the only permanently assigned expeditionary signal battalion supporting the U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command areas of responsibility. During Sannutti's command the battalion supported more than 75 different exercises and hundreds of successful missions in 17 different countries.

"This rapid operational tempo of the battalion has informed the Army senior leaders about how to better prepare expeditionary signal battalions for deployments around the world," Worthington said. "This battalion truly has done it all."

Sannutti said while the operational tempo was challenging for Soldiers and families, he enjoyed his time with the unit and thanked everyone for their hard work and support throughout his command.

"Battalion command has been an incredibly exciting experience, and also humbling. I appreciated being part of the team every day, and the amount of talent resident within this unit is astonishing," Sannutti said.

He also offered words of welcome to McAteer as she takes over battalion command.

"You are a stellar officer who will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the battalion and to the brigade. I am truly excited for what you have and for what lays in your future -- hang on, it's going to be a great ride," Sannutti said.

McAteer has strong ties to Germany -- she was born here and has served twice in Germany, including previously with the 44th Expeditionary Signal Bn. in Mannheim from 2007-2009.

"My presence here today is a homecoming that is a testament to family, friends and countless officers, (noncommissioned officers), Soldiers and service members that have developed me over the years, including many that have shared service in this very unit. I promise to work every day to pay it forward," McAteer said.

She then addressed the 44th Expeditionary Signal Bn. Soldiers in formation now under her command.

"You have continued a tradition of outstanding service and your professional reputation proceeds you," McAteer said. "It's an honor to join the team."

McAteer has a master's in information technology from Colorado Technical University and a doctorate in organizational development and leadership from the University of the Rockies. McAteer's previous assignment was as the J-6 operations officer for Joint Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

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2nd Theater Signal Brigade conducts Department of Defense Information Network operations to enable mission command in support of U.S. Army, Joint and multinational operations throughout the U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command areas of operation.