KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany -- The Army's largest garrison in Europe in terms of geographic footprint has a new commander overseeing the 29 sites and installations within its diverse area of responsibility.

Colonel Jason T. Edwards assumed command of U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz in a ceremony at Daenner Kaserne, July 11. He takes over an organization with a reach of operations that encompasses facilities in Kaiserslautern, Baumholder, Landstuhl, Miesau, Sembach, Gruenstadt, Mannheim and Germersheim, among other locations.

Edwards accepted the garrison colors from Michael D. Formica, the Installation Management Command-Europe Director and host for the change of command ceremony. The outgoing commander, Col. Keith E. Igyarto, had relinquished the organizational flag to Formica just prior in the traditional passing of the colors that symbolizes the change of leadership.

Formica praised Igyarto's all-hands focus to ensure the sustainment, safety and security of the Rheinland-Pfalz community through aggressive and relentless force-protection efforts, and his strategic, long-term infrastructure improvement effort across the organization.

"Col. Igyarto led the way by supporting the warfighter, providing installation management and ensuring quality-of-life care for over 30,000 people," Formica said in his remarks. "U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz is a better place because of his dedication."

Igyarto, in turn, gave credit to those under his command for the last two years.

"Today is a ceremony about one person leaving and another arriving, but it is the organization we represent that is really worth talking about -- especially all the great people in it," Igyarto said. "Our Soldiers, Army Professionals and Host Nation employees are truly dedicated and sincerely committed to the garrison mission and the people living here."

In addition to lauding the garrison team, Igyarto -- who is being reassigned to Army Futures Command -- also recognized the continued support of Host Nation Allies, from ministry officials, to local officials, "blue light first responders" and the Bundeswehr, and thanked them for their selfless service.

"Since its beginning on October 1, 2013, USAG RP has transformed four separate military communities into one fantastic and quite large and complex garrison that enhances the readiness of our military units assigned to our community," Igyarto said. "This young garrison will continue to reach new levels of excellence and I am as excited as Col. Edwards must be to see this new level of success achieved."

Edwards arrives to the garrison after a National Security Fellowship at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. A native of Coldwater, Michigan, Edwards began his diverse military career as an infantryman with the 82d Airborne Division before transitioning to the Adjutant General Corps.

He draws upon experience from a variety of duty and leadership positions to include Operations Officer, 556th Personnel Service Battalion; Deputy Chief, Postal Operations Division, 8th Human Resources Sustainment Center; Secretary of the General Staff, 8th Theater Sustainment Command; Chief, J123 Exercise and Readiness Branch, U.S. Pacific Command; Branch Chief, Enlisted Distribution, Army Human Resources Command; and commander of various battalions. Edwards deployed in support of several operations to Albania, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Kuwait and Japan.

Edwards is a graduate of the Infantry Officer Basic Course, Adjutant General Corps Officer Advanced Course and the Command and General Staff College. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science/Public Administration and a Master's degree in Public Administration, both from Central Michigan University.

"I will be ready for the challenges that lie ahead, both complicated and complex," Edwards said in his acceptance remarks. "I will be ready to lead, but will do so while listening to and learning from the incredible professionals assigned throughout the region."

"I look forward to sustaining the lasting relationships forged by my predecessors diligently pursuing unity of effort among the Army, Air Force and our gracious host country."