JOINT BASE LEWIS MCCHORD, Wash. -- The Commander of the 5th Security Force Assistance Brigade, Brig. Gen. Curtis Taylor relinquished command to Col. Andrew Watson in a ceremony on Watkins Field, Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington, today.
Taylor arrived at the unit in June 2019 with only a handful of Soldiers on hand with the task to form the U.S. Army's newest and last Security Force Assistance Brigade.
"In our first year, we went from a handful of leaders and an empty building to a fully-equipped and manned Brigade filled with the highest density of talented NCOs and junior Officers that I have seen in my career, all individually recruits, assessed and selected." Taylor said.
Taylor led the organization through regional alignment with the Indo-Pacific, an important milestone announced by Gen. Michael Garrett, U.S. Army Forces Command's Commanding General in the unit's May 2020 activation ceremony.
The rapid growth of the organization (an all-volunteer force) culminating in the brigade's historic employment into the Indo-Pacific during a global pandemic in Jan. 2021 showed the strategic impact of Taylor's focused leadership.
"The Scope and Scale of Brig. Gen. Curt Taylor’s actions and leadership, both inside his organization as well as within the Indo-Pacific Command Area of Responsibility has been without equal," Brig. Gen. Scott Jackson, Security Force Assistance Command's Commanding General said. "Brig. Gen. Taylor built this formation, introduced it to his foreign partners, and then adeptly employed it during its inaugural employment. We couldn’t be more proud of him and his Team of Leaders."
Taylor led the brigade through Joint Readiness Training Rotation 21-2 at Fort Polk in October as well as numerous engagements including two Culminating Training Events to include Vanguard Focus 2.0 which ended just prior to the ceremony.
"As we look to our third year, this brigade will begin a semi-annual rotation model with Advisor teams leading the way to set conditions and build relationships ahead of the most important exercises that the U.S. Army will accomplish this year," Taylor said.
Taylor reflected on his 23 months in command of the Vanguard Brigade as he donned the brown beret for the last time.
"Serving alongside this team has been the most rewarding experience of my nearly 27 years in the Army," Taylor said. "I am a Vanguard Soldier for life and I hope that everyone on this team remains so as well."
Taylor will take command of the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California next week. Col. Andrew Watson, the brigade's Deputy Commander assumed command of the brigade and will cede command to Col. Jonathan Chung in June.