FORT HUACHUCA, Arizona - The U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command held a Change of Command Ceremony at Brown Parade Field on the historic grounds of fort's old post, November 14.
Maj. Gen. John W. Baker, relinquished command of NETCOM to incoming commanding general, Maj. Gen. Maria B. Barrett. Barrett is coming to Fort Huachuca from her previous position as Deputy Commander (Operations) for the Cyber National Mission Force (CNMF), United States Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) at Fort Meade, Md. Likewise, Baker commanded NETCOM, since Aug. 2016.
Officiating at the ceremony was Army Cyber Command, Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Stephen G. Fogarty.
Immediately after the ceremonial "passing of the colors" to the new commander, Fogarty gave his remarks and accolades to both the incoming and outgoing commanders and spouses as he addressed a crowd of more than 300 Soldiers, civilians, family and guests from NETCOM, Fort Huachuca and the local community of Sierra Vista.
"So thank you all for coming. It's a special day. For me, it's a distinct honor to celebrate the accomplishments and the careers of two great Soldiers, John Baker and Maria Barrett," said Fogarty.
"I am also very pleased to welcome the spouses of MG John Baker and MG Maria Barrett--Mrs. Laurie Baker and LTC (Ret) Brian Barrett for helping us celebrate this very special day."
As Fogarty gave his remarks he addressed the accomplishments of Maj. Gen. Baker.
"Serving as the Commanding General of NETCOM is the culmination of John and Laurie's selfless service to our Army and our Nation. It began in August of 2016--27 months ago. John took on some tremendous challenges not the least of which was leading the operations, maintenance and defense of the Army's network--what we call DoDIN [Department of Defense Information Network] operations--during a critical time." Fogarty said.
Fogarty addressed the many acute projects and successes of NETCOM under the leadership of Baker to include the software standardization, and network modernization for the Department of Defense's global communications missions.
"General Baker made improvements within the Army networks through modernization and standardization. He led the Army's ambitious efforts to migrate over 1 Million operating systems to Windows 10 (WIN 10). Under his leadership NETCOM completed the WIN 10 upgrade four months ahead of the Army's deadline," said Fogarty
"He also significantly improved network performance and customer support by introducing industry standards and best practices."
Fogarty continued his remarks as he welcomed Maj. Gen Barrett and gave compliments regarding Barrett's accomplishments.
"Maria brings a depth of experience to NETCOM as a career Signal Officer who has served at every level of command, in multiple theaters. She also has a wealth of experience at the joint level and in cyber operations, having served as ARCYBER's Deputy Commanding General for the Joint Force Headquarters -- Cyber; and as the Deputy Commander (Operations) for the Cyber National Mission Force, United States Cyber Command. She is unquestionably the right person to take NETCOM to the next level of excellence," said Fogarty
"Maria, thank you for taking on this critical role. I know you will continue the momentum that John has built--and build upon NETCOM's legacy as a communications leader across the Army and the joint force. I know you and this fantastic team of teams are up to the task. Enjoy Command!"
Baker's farewell remarks were heart-felt and emotionally charged as he thanked his wife Laurie, daughters Alexis and Mackenzie, the NETCOM team and the local communities for the exceptional relationships he and his wife built during his time as the NETCOM commanding general.
"[Laurie] Thank you for being my best friend. I value the gift of your friendship that you provide me every day. And thank you for your honesty; which has given me the ability to grow as a husband, father and Soldier."
"On a bittersweet note, this is the first time I've changed out of command that my daughters have not been able to attend. To Alexis and Mackenzie, thank you for being the most important part of your Mom and dad's life," said Baker.
"To the NETCOM staff. We accomplished a tremendous amount over the last two years. You're awesome; and incredibly hard working; and, a little stressed. But, you're the absolute best team in our Army and Department of Defense," recounted Baker.
Equally, Baker gave his closing remarks as he reiterated his affection for the local community."
"What a way to end our Army career with service at NETCOM. As we we're traveling out here in 2016, we discovered that Fort Huachuca really is the wild frontier. The scarcity of Laurie's favorite restaurants was quickly replaced by our friends on Grierson Avenue, the hospitality of Sierra Vista and the beauty of the Huachuca's, [Huachuca Mountains]," said Baker.
During the final portion of the ceremony Barrett took to the podium and thanked Baker for his contributions to NETCOM.
"Maj. Gen. Baker … John, thank you for your kind words, but more importantly, thank you for leading this command with incomparable dedication to its critical mission. Yours was an extraordinary vision--and a fierce determination to succeed. You have left an indelible mark on this command," said Barrett.
"On a personal note, thanks to you and Laurie for the warm welcome you have extended to Brian and me. You have gone out of your way to ease our transition to this command and community and we are grateful to your kindness."
Barrett then talked about how she views her new responsibilities of command.
"Today, I return to a Command that is both familiar to me but also much different than the one I knew when I left in 2012 after completing brigade command. At that time, the idea that the network should be regarded as a weapon system had just emerged, but it had yet to mature in terms of what this meant for our people, our organizations, and our processes," said Barrett.
"Today, the men and women of NETCOM embrace what it means to 'fight and maneuver' the network, just as a Division commander fights and maneuvers his brigade combat teams and synchronizes his enabling elements."
In her closing remarks Barrett talked about how NETCOM will continue the fight against our adversaries and what is needed to sustain those operations.
"Readiness, just as in an infantry division, is your watch word--you ensure friendly cyber terrain is available and secured for warfighting operations. You recognize 'Resiliency' as a critical component in facing tomorrow's evolving threats," said Barrett.
"Modernization and convergence is an essential element of maintaining our agility in this domain. Last but not least, none of this happens without the engine of this command: it's People."
Maj. Gen. Baker will be transitioning out the Army this December. He and his wife Laurie will be moving to Phoenix, Arizona following his transition.