CHIÈVRES, Belgium – U.S. Army Garrison Benelux team held a change of command at Chièvres Air Base July 15 to welcome Col. James Yastrzemsky as garrison commander and to bid farewell to Col. Sean Kuester.The ceremony took place in the garrison headquarters building with a live broadcast taking place over the garrison’s social media, through which distinguished visitors and the public joined.Tommy R. Mize, director of Installation Management Command – Europe, presided over the event in person. Mize commended Kuester for being instrumental in developing the Army Prepositioned Stock 2 program, for fostering partnerships, and for being the garrison commander to engage with the community over social media livestreaming.“Colonel Kuester’s performance leading this garrison over the past two years is simply unmatched,” said Mize. “Sean is a commander who genuinely cares for all he leads and all he serves and supports. This garrison has excelled in providing all the services and infrastructure required to provide the quality of life our Soldiers, civilians, Families and retirees deserve.”USAG Benelux is a garrison that manages several sites across Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany with a multinational, multilingual workforce.“Sean is also one of the most thoughtful leaders I have ever encountered,” said Mize. “He has the innate ability to see and understand the big picture, anticipate requirements and identify the decisive actions his garrison needs to execute in order to achieve the end state that USAREUR or IMCOM are attempting to achieve.”“We are an amazing team – I still say ‘we,’ and I’ll always say ‘we’ when talking about the Benelux” said Kuester during his remarks, addressing the garrison staff. “We are a case study of what can be accomplished when we move as one with unity of purpose, with trust won of respect, which comes from working together, connecting and listening, not just waiting to talk.“You run a city, and you nurture a community,” continued Kuester. “I will miss you all, but I will look forward to see what you are doing next. I know whatever you do, you’re going to deliver.”Kuester is scheduled to become the senior Army advisor in Columbia to the South Carolina National Guard.To represent the transfer of command, Kuester received the garrison colors from IMCOM-E Command Sgt. Maj. Samara L. Pitre to then pass the colors to Mize, representing the formal end of Kuester’s command of the garrison. Mize then passed the colors to Yastrzemsky, thus beginning Yastrzemsky’s tenure as garrison commander.Yastrzemsky began his military career at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, where he graduated with a degree in civil engineering. He went to flight school at Fort Rucker, Alabama; served in several leadership positions including command of the 6th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, at Fort Campbell, Kentucky; deployed to Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan; and even returned to the USMA as an Aviation Branch proponent and trainer and later as an assistant professor of military leadership and deputy director of the West Point Leadership Center. Prior to his assignment at USAG Benelux, Yastrzemsky graduated from the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania.Mize, during his remarks, called Yastrzemsky a “proven leader,” who “has led from the front.”“Yaz, we’re extremely glad to have you join us today in IMCOM – Europe,” Mize said, directly addressing Yastrzemsky. “This is both an exciting and a challenging time to join us here. It’s a time where we’re called on to protect our communities from the COVID-19 virus while also continuing to assure that we care for all of our people by providing them with the services and the infrastructure they need.“You’re the right leader at the right time to take the mantle of this complex garrison and to lead it forward into even greater success,” continued Mize.Yastrzemsky, during his remarks, said the garrison would continue to focus on providing the best support so that “all our teammates can remain focused on their operational mission of deterring adversarial aggression and preserving the NATO alliance.”“I will continue to do work daily to gain and maintain the trust and confidence required to lead this great formation,” Yastrzemsky said. “There is still more work to be done, and we will remain vigilant so we can protect ourselves, so we can protect the force, and the force can protect our nation.”Because of COVID-19 preventive measures, special invitees of the garrison joined the ceremony through livestreaming, including the host nation mayors and other local leaders in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. Extended Family of both commanders also joined online.The immediate Family of both commanders were at the event in person. Although traditionally during changes of command, Soldiers of the unit pass flowers to the Family members at the ceremony, as a precautionary substitute the commanders themselves presented flowers to their own Family members.The entire ceremony can be viewed online at the links here:- Part One: Part Two: read Yastrzemsky’s biography, visit the garrison web page here: