PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colorado - The 53rd Signal Battalion, 1st Space Brigade, welcomed a new commander June 8 at the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command headquarters here.
Lt. Col. Jason N. Daugherty assumed command from the unit's outgoing commander, Col. Glenn O. Mellor, during the Change of Command.
Col. Richard L. Zellmann, commander, 1st Space Brigade, USASMDC/ARSTRAT, hosted the ceremony.
"For the past two years, Col. Glenn Mellor has provided the leadership, guidance and direction for the 53rd Signal Battalion," Zellmann said. "During those two years, Glenn has been responsible for the health, welfare, discipline, leader development and readiness for over 300 Soldiers and civilians."
Zellmann explained that this was not an easy two years.
"The last of the five modern Wideband Satellite Operations Centers was completed and dedicated, Zellmann said. "The last of the new Modernized Earth Terminals just finished installation with the radome cap going on last week, and two new satellites were launched before they even had the equipment on the ground to control them. That's trust.
"There has been an ever-increasing threat - peer adversaries and their ability to jam our satellite communications," he continued. "Glenn has been the leader to address this new threat. He's focused his training program away from being a service provider of SATCOM to a unit ready to fight the next conflict - a conflict that already smolders in the space domain."
Zellmann lauded Mellor on his leadership during his time as commander.
"By all measures, Col. Mellor has led superbly. He has identified shortages in equipment, personnel and training and when possible fixed them on his own. His Soldiers are as ready as they have ever been," Zellmann said. "For the entirety of your command, readiness has been the number one priority, and you have wasted no resources to achieve the greatest amount of readiness. Well done."
Zellmann then turned his attention to the new commander.
"We are happy to welcome Jason and Heather to the 1st Space Brigade," Zellmann said. "Jason is a superb officer, and he is ready to keep moving the 53rd Signal Battalion in the right direction. He is armed with the experience gained previously in the battalion having served as the executive officer and S3."
During his farewell remarks, Mellor shared his feelings on his transition to the next phase of his career.
"It has been an amazing two years, and it is with great reservation and excitement that I pass this amazing battalion to Lt. Col. Daugherty," Mellor explained. "Reserved because I truly love the 53rd and will deeply miss everyone. It's truly hard to let go. And excited because the battalion is receiving a great commander and leader."
He went on to thank the unit, chain of command and his wife.
Upon taking command, Daugherty thanked Zellmann for the opportunity to lead such a great battalion and thanked the Soldiers for such a warm welcome.
"I am emphatically thrilled and feel fortunate and blessed for the opportunity to once again serve in this fine unit," said Daugherty.
"To the people of this great organization, I firmly believe that you are the foundation to everything we do, and my top focus will always be to help ensure your welfare, your success and your inspiration. The rest will inherently follow. I look forward to continuing to strengthen our commitment to enable warfighters to communicate by using assured assets in space by providing world-class satellite control in support of the defense of our nation."
Prior to the official ceremony, Zellmann presented awards to Mellor and his wife. Mellor received the Meritorious Service Medal for his service as commander of the 53rd Signal Battalion. Mellor's wife, Cyndi, received the Commander's Award for Public Service for her contributions and efforts to the Soldiers and families of the battalion.
The 53rd Signal Battalion is the oldest operational battalion in the 1st Space Brigade and the only unit in the Department of Defense that conducts payload and transmission control of the Defense Satellite Communications System and Wideband Global Satellite Communications System constellations. The management of these constellations by the battalion ensures continuous communications connectivity for mission critical subscribers from the president to warfighters and national agencies.