FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas – U.S. Army North (Fifth Army) conducted a change of command ceremony at their headquarters in the historic Quadrangle on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, Sept. 9, 2021.
Gen. Glen D. VanHerck, Commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command, presided over the ceremony in which Lt. Gen. Laura J. Richardson, the outgoing commander of U.S. Army North, relinquished command to Lt. Gen. John R. Evans, Jr., who previously served as the commanding general of the U.S. Cadet Command at Fort Knox, Kentucky.
In keeping with military tradition, Richardson passed the U.S. Army North colors, which symbolize command, to VanHerck, who then passed the guidon to Evans, thus endowing him with the authority of command, and formally recognizing him as the commanding general of U.S. Army North.
“As my time here has come to an end at U.S. Army North, the really great thing about the military is that you always have a great replacement to take the reins with a steady hand,” Richardson said. “I cannot be more grateful that Lt. Gen. John Evans will lead U.S. Army North to bigger and better horizons. His strategic operational and combat experience make him the exact right leader, at the right time, to take the helm of this theater army.”
The U.S. Army North commander also serves as the senior Army commander for Joint Base San Antonio, the Department of Defense’s largest joint base network, which includes Fort Sam Houston and Camp Bullis.
“To my good friend and teacher, Lt. Gen Laura Richardson, thanks for a fabulous transition,” Evans said. “I know that I have incredibly huge shoes to fill. Your patience and diligence throughout our transition means I will be better prepared to meet the daily challenges of this dynamic command.”
Both Richardson and Evans thanked everyone who attended the change of command in-person and virtually. Evans then went on to address the U.S. Army North personnel in attendance.
“I consider it an honor to be counted among your number, and I promise you my very best as your new commander,” Evans said. “I have seen your compassion, I have admired your professionalism, I have felt your strength, and that comes as no surprise to me, because you truly are the ‘Strength of the Nation.’”
U.S. Army North is a three-star command dedicated to federal military operations within North America, and protects the Department of Defense’s ability to man, equip, and train forces within the homeland. Through interagency and military partners, U.S. Army North conducts homeland defense planning and coordination and provides administrative control of the Air and Missile Defense Task Force.
Coined the “Strength of the Nation,” U.S. Army North plans, exercises and provides life-saving and life-sustaining capabilities in support of federal, state, local, tribal and territorial partners during natural or man-made disasters. U.S. Army North is currently supporting the Afghan evacuee mission named Operation Allies Welcome, COVID response operations in hospitals across the nation, and wildland firefighting operations in Northern California in support of several federal, state and local partners.
Lt. Gen. Richardson assumed command of U.S. Army North in July 2019 and will be moving forward in her career, promoting to General and taking command at her next assignment at U.S. Southern Command in Miami, Florida.
“U.S. Army North is a one-of–a-kind land component command for the nation and we have shown how the Department of Defense fits very nicely in the national response framework,” states Richardson. “There is no mission more honorable than helping Americans in our homeland overcome and recover from whatever crisis or disaster has happened. This assignment has been the highlight of my career.”