Lt. Col. Keith Toler and Command Sgt. Maj. Serjio Pruneda assumed their respective roles as commander, and senior enlisted leader of Allied Forces South Battalion, U.S. Army NATO Brigade, from Lt. Col. John Misenheimer and Command Sgt. Maj. John Gutierrez in a ceremony June 1 at Joint Forces Command Headquarters in Lago di Patria, Italy.
Misenheimer and Gutierrez led the unit for two years through a number of important NATO exercises, operations and initiatives. Most notably they oversaw the planning and coordination of the 1 Army ball in the Brigade in over 5 years. They facilitated the logistical and administrative needs for the expansion of the Air Ground Surveillance Squadron in Sigonella, Italy.
The team also improved the medical readiness of their supported population by working with the local U.S. Naval hospital in Naples providing U.S. Navy medical services the tools and training to understand the Army process and better serve the Army population at JFC Naples.
Misenheimer will be going to the United States Army Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida where he will work in the manpower division of the J-1 section. Gutierrez will be retiring after a 32 year career including multiple overseas assignments and deployments.
"The ability to balance all higher headquarters lines of efforts, and contribute to each of them meaningfully is the mark of excellent leadership, and that is exactly what this battalion has done under the leadership of this command team," said Col. Jason Riley, USANATO Bde. commander. "Lt. Col Misenheimer and Command Sgt. Maj. Gutierrez clearly understood the priorities and used creative solutions to make not only the battalion, but this brigade as a whole, successful in its mission to provide trained and ready U.S. Army Soldiers to NATO."
Toler comes to AFSOUTH from the Office of the Secretary of the Army at the Pentagon where he served as the Executive Officer and Pruneda is arriving from the Human Resources Command in Fort Knox where he served as Army Special Operations Forces Branch Sergeant Major.
Both incoming leaders are familiar with the unique challenges faced by the USANATO Bde. Lt. Col. Toler previously served as the Commander for Bravo Company, USANATO SHAPE Battalion (currently C Company, AFSOUTH) and Command Sgt Maj. Pruneda served in Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Allied Forces North Battalion as well as the NATO Special Operations Command.