ANSBACH, Germany -- Col. Steven Pierce assumed command of U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach (USAG Ansbach), at a ceremony here July 18 on the Barton Barracks sports field overlooking the city of Ansbach.

Col. Benjamin Jones relinquished command as more than 300 Soldiers, U.S. civilians and German guests turned out to bid him farewell and to welcome Col. Pierce and his family to the city and the Ansbach military community.

The ceremony and passing of the command's colors - a visual symbol of the commander's authority and representing his responsibilities to the organization - was presided over by Mr. Michael D. Formica, Installation Management Command Europe Region director.

The ceremony included the playing of the American and German national anthems by the U.S. Army Europe Band brass quintet and the invocation by Garrison Chaplain Lt. Col. Suk Kim. In addition, IMCOM-E Soldier of the Year and USAG Ansbach Specialist Nicholas Kernen presented a bouquet of red roses to Jones' wife Kristin as well as unit coins to sons Lucas and Charley. Private First Class John Roberts presented yellow roses to Ingrid Pierce, incoming first lady of the Ansbach Garrison.

Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Philson Tavernier led the traditional transfer of the Garrison colors that passed from Jones to Formica to Pierce then back to Tavernier, symbolizing the official transfer of command.

Jones assumed command of the Ansbach garrison exactly two years to the day of his relinquishment of the colors, on July 18, 2016.

One month prior to Jones's arrival, USAG Ansbach had begun consolidating and relocating its garrison facilities in Katterbach, Illesheim and Ansbach as well as assuming responsibility for and providing support to Army installations at the military air base at Mihail Kogalniceanu (MK) in Romania and the Novo Selo Training Area in Bulgaria. The restructuring was part of the Army European Infrastructure Consolidation (EIC) plan, which had far-reaching consequences for the Ansbach military community, still being felt today.

In his remarks to the participants and attendees Formica said, "As I look around, I clearly see that our garrison Army professionals are delivering a much-needed power projection platform for Strong Europe, and it is from here that we are providing a rotational hub for Atlantic Resolve," said Formica, adding "most recently, the 678th Air Defense Artillery Brigade from South Carolina uncased its colors, and the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade began arriving just last month from Colorado. There is no substitute for such a forward presence in Europe. It is the bedrock of America's answer to any threat on this continent -- we will respond quickly and decisively. The USAG Ansbach team is delivering world-class support to operations across Central and Eastern Europe, sending a clear message that NATO and its partners stand ready as a collective team." Formica said.

Formica also spoke of Jones's legacy at U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach. "Thank you for everything you have done to improve this garrison, and your commitment to the IMCOM mission here in Ansbach as well as in the east, in Romania and Bulgaria." he said. "You have been ambassador number one for the U.S. military during your tenure in Ansbach through your outreach to and partnership with in the surrounding Franconian communities" said Formica.

Said Jones from the lectern, "In restructuring and revitalizing the Ansbach community since my arrival in 2016, as well as beginning the work of reaching East to provide support for U.S. and NATO forces in Romania and Bulgaria, we have adapted and successfully created new ways to provide the best support possible to enable our Ansbach garrison partners to successfully meet the requirements of their missions in support of U.S. Army Europe," Jones said in his final remarks. "It's something I am immensely, proud to have led and been a part of."

In his first remarks as U.S. Army Garrison Commander Ansbach, turning to the many Soldiers, family members and civilians in attendance Pierce expressed his gratitude and thanks to Jones, wishing him success in his next assignment. Pierce paused and looked left to the stands filled with well-wishers, then over the parade field before continuing. "To the Soldiers and civilians of the Ansbach Garrison, I am excited to lead our team of professionals who embrace our service culture, and look forward to our time together." said Pierce. "There is nowhere I would rather be right now than here in Ansbach."

ABOUT THE U.S. ARMY COMMUNITY IN ANSBACH
The U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach (USAG Ansbach) Military Community is located in the Franconian region of Bavaria and is spread across six sites and nine kasernes dispersed around the city of Ansbach and the village of Illesheim: Barton Barracks, Bismarck Kaserne, Bleidorn Kaserne, Franken Kaserne, Katterbach Kaserne, Oberdachstetten Training Area, Shipton Kaserne, Storck Barracks, and Urlas Kaserne. Today, Ansbach is the home of the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade (12th CAB), the community's largest tenant unit. USAG Ansbach continues its mission of streamlining base support operations management, allowing tactical commanders to concentrate on their essential training and missions. The garrison takes pride in its support to more than 6,000 Soldiers, civilians and family members working and living within the USAG Ansbach area. To learn more about the people and facilities of the U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach (USAG Ansbach) and the people they support in Ansbach, Katterbach and Illesheim, visit the community website at http://ansbach.army.mil

To see more photos from the event, visit www.flickr.com/photos/usagansbachphotos/sets