CAMP WALKER, Republic of Korea -- The U.S. Army Garrison Daegu leadership changed hands during a ceremony at Camp Walker June 25, as the Area IV community bid farewell to Col. Robert P. Mann Jr., the outgoing commander, and welcomed Col. Edward J. Ballanco, the incoming commander.
U.S. Soldiers stood alongside Korean Augumentees to the U.S. Army, civilians, families, and other Area IV community members during the change of command ceremony hosted by Dr. Christine Altendorf, the Director of the Installation Management Command -- Pacific.
"Although I am sad to leave such a wonderful place and great command, I am truly humbled to have had the opportunity to serve you as the commander of USAG Daegu," said Mann.
"This garrison will continue to reach new levels of excellence," said Mann. "I am excited as Colonel Ballanco will see this new level of success."
Colonel Ballanco brings an amazing level of experience, intelligence, and drive and will be a great garrison commander, Mann added.
Mann has served as USAG Daegu commander since June 2017. During this time, he ensured USAG Daegu helped to facilitate readiness and power projection across the peninsula as part of the ROK-U.S. Alliance. He received several awards while leading the garrison, among them recognition for having the best garrison safety office in U.S. Army Pacific and Army Communities of Excellence awards for 2018 and 2019.
"Our Army professionals and Soldiers, both U.S. and Korean, are dedicated and committed to our mission and the people living here," said Mann. "Whether providing first-rate childcare, a place to work out, someone to talk to, or a first-responder lending a helping hand, they embody our vision of -- a community of excellence prepared for war and ready to make a difference."
The critical moment of the ceremony began with Command Sgt. Maj. Alan Cline passing the unit colors to Mann. Next, Mann passed the colors to Altendorf, representing the relinquishment of command. Altendorf then passed the colors to Ballanco, charging him with the same duties and responsibilities. Ballanco then passed the colors back to Cline, signifying his trust in him as his command sergeant major and the noncommissioned officer corps.
During her remarks at the ceremony, Altendorf said Korea has undergone a number of changes in the last few decades.
"However, the commitment of our Nation to the ROK-U.S. Alliance has not changed, and our Korean hosts are still the most gracious and wonderful neighbors in the world," Altendorf said.
Colonel Ballanco is uniquely suited to take this Garrison and our team into continued success and a bright future, she added.
"We have made three moves in the last three years -- from Washington to Pennsylvania to Virginia -- like a lot of military families do. It's always tough, but we're very happy to be here in Korea," Ballanco said after he thanked the community, leadership and staff for welcoming him and his family and assisting with their transition.