KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany - Soldiers, friends and family members of the 361st Civil Affairs Brigade gathered, virtually, to recognize two leaders’ formal transfer of authority and responsibility of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 361st Civil Affairs Brigade, 7th Mission Support Command here, June 7.
Since the onset of Coronavirus, the military has changed procedures to protect the force and the communities in which they live. Social distancing, hand sanitizing and limited numbers, with respect to gatherings, are merely a few of the precautions that have now become routine.
The ceremony began with the invocation and playing of the national anthem, the way most change of commands begin. Then the official party marched past three cameras, which provided live streamed video through three different platforms, to viewers from multiple countries. A special guest gave his speech from nearly 5,700 miles away.
“I believe it’s an honor and a privilege to witness this virtual change of command ceremony,” said Maj. Gen. Alberto Rosende, commanding general of the 63rd Readiness Division from Mountain View, California. “This shows us that technology has invaded us in every way, shape or form, for the better at this point, so we can stay connected and execute what it is that we need to do.”
The outgoing commander, who recently moved back to the United States, spoke through one of the platforms from his current residence near Colorado Springs, Colorado.
“This is a very unique group,” said Maj. Ryan Nelson. “I think that’s why it is so dynamic and so adaptable, and it’s the most positive group of individuals I may have ever had the opportunity to work with.”
Nelson thanked the unit and certain individuals for their devotion to the team during his time in command then provided the new commander words of encouragement.
“You are going to do great, because these Soldiers are going to make you do great,” said Nelson. “They are going to support and challenge you.”
Having had the opportunity to work with Nelson for more than a year, the new commander expressed his gratitude and wished Nelson well in his future endeavors.
“You did a fantastic job,” said Cpt. Jose Melendez Valentin. “I hope to build on the foundations you laid to enable these amazing Soldiers to maximize their potential.”
The 361st used talent within their ranks to make it possible for all who wished to attend the virtual ceremony.
“It was not an easy task, due to the fact of having four days to accomplish the mission,” said Melendez Valentin. “You made it happen; you all are great.”