CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait -- Col. Jeffrey Niemi took command of the 401st Army Field Support Brigade during a change of command ceremony, here, June 18.
The ceremony also included a change of responsibility of the brigade's top enlisted advisor from Command Sgt. Maj. Rodney Macon to Command Sgt. Maj. Dexter Ferguson.
Maj. Gen. Duane Gamble, commanding general, U.S. Army Sustainment Command, presided over the ceremony.
"The 401st Army Field Support Brigade has an area of responsibility that encompasses all U.S. Central Command operations in southwest and central Asia," Gamble said. "As I've often said, this means that the 401st AFSB is the only one of ASC's brigades that is in direct contact with the enemy, and that's right there on the front lines with the Army's elite warfighters.
"Which, in my eyes, means that the term, 'elite,' applies to the 401st AFSB as well," he said.
Niemi assumed command from Col. Carmelia Scott-Skillern, who held the position since June, 2017.
Scott-Skillern is now slated to take over as the Chief of Staff of the 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
"We ask a lot of the command team called on to command the 401st AFSB. Honestly, more than we ask from some general officers," Gamble said. "And I'm proud to say that, during their tenure, Col. Scott-Skillern and Command Sgt. Maj. Macon did all that was asked of them, and a whole lot more."
To mark the transfer of command, Macon handed the unit colors to Scott-Skillern, who then passed them to Gamble. Gamble continued the rotation to Niemi. With his position as commander established, Niemi then passed the colors to Ferguson for safekeeping.
In her farewell remarks, Scott-Skillern spoke highly of the quality of people within the brigade, and emphasized how important the unit's mission is.
"When everyone is united in their purpose -- a positive purpose that serves not only the organization but also, hopefully, the world beyond it -- you have a winning team. The 401st AFSB is truly a winning team," Scott-Skillern said.
"What we do is so incredibly important, and I am proud to be a part of it. This team is responsible for putting readiness in the hands of the warfighter," Scott-Skillern said. "The equipment and support we provide gets the warfighter into battle with a decisive edge over our adversaries. More importantly, that equipment and support gets so many warfighters back out of battle safely so they can go home to their families."
Scott-Skillern also spoke highly of the incoming command team while welcoming them to the brigade.
"Col. Niemi and Command Sgt. Maj. Ferguson, you're getting a fantastic team. Furthermore, I know that you're both the right leaders for this job and that you'll face this challenging environment head-on," Scott-Skillern said. "I wish you the best of luck, and welcome to the 401st Army Field Support Brigade."
Niemi comes to the 401st AFSB from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, where his family resides.
"It is my honor, and truly humbling, to assume command of such a professional organization at the forefront of U.S. Army Materiel Command's operational support to Army, joint, and coalition forces in the CENTCOM area of responsibility," Niemi said.
Niemi thanked God, his family, and the mentors who contributed to shaping his career before assuring brigade personnel of his dedication to the unit.
"To the 401st AFSB and supported units in the AOR, it is my duty to establish trust and that is what I intend to do," Niemi said. "Sabre Brigade, I am humbled at what you've achieved to date and I will ask each of you to recommit yourselves to establishing goals for this great organization, and I look forward to the journey we are about to embark on to achieve those goals."