PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. (June 15, 2022) – Col. Varman Chhoeung relinquished command of the Presidio of Monterey garrison to Col. Sam Kline during a change of command ceremony at Soldier Field on June 14.
Vincent Grewatz, director of Installation Management Command – Training, officiated the event, and discussed the importance of having great leaders in the vital role of garrison commander.
“The Army doesn’t train its officers specifically to command garrisons, but it does develop leaders, leaders who are capable, innovative and motivated to handle the challenges and demands of a command of this type, and Varman has done just that and more,” Grewatz said.
Grewatz said Kline also holds those leadership qualities, and brings integrity, creativity, flexibility and much more to his new position.
“I am confident that you, with your demonstrated leadership, are prepared to take on the challenges set before you,” Grewatz said.
During his final address, Chhoeung thanked the Presidio team. He shared the stories of the garrison’s legal personnel; Oscar Ordonez, the head of garrison housing, who helped bring about several positive changes to housing; Traci Gibson, head of the garrison’s Child Development Center; and Dorrie Coman, director of the Porter Youth Center, who are role models in the career of child care.
“The legal team, Oscar, Traci and Dorrie are not alone,” Chhoeung said. “There are 600 other dedicated professionals that live by the Army Civilian Corps Creed to serve the Monterey Bay military community. We have really good people.”
Grewatz praised Chhoeung, a member of the “Covid cohort” of garrison commanders during the pandemic, and his leadership.
“Col. Chhoeung drove positive change during his command here, undeterred by forces that threatened not only mission success, but the health of the force, community resilience and progress on a whole host of initiatives,” Grewatz said.
In addition, Chhoeung helped implement IMCOM’s reorganization under Army Materiel Command, led reforms to the installation’s privatized housing program, and improved quality of life in the face of several challenges, Grewatz said.
One of Chhoeung’s biggest achievements, Grewatz said, was brokering partnerships with the municipalities of Monterey and nearby Seaside to forge a $150 million Intergovernmental Support Agreement for facility maintenance. “It serves as the gold standard for the Army today,” he said.
Following his assignment at the Presidio, Chhoeung will report to Army Futures Command in Austin, Texas, with his family.
Kline, who commanded the Special Operations Advisory Group in Baghdad, Iraq, before his arrival at the Presidio, thanked his friends, family and mentors who attended in person and virtually, as well as his wife, retired Navy Lt. Cmdr. Heather Kline, who was in the audience.
Kline said he is honored to take the helm as garrison commander.
“To the men, women and community of the PoM enterprise, I promise this: I will give you my all and I look forward to building on your team’s success,” Kline said. “Team Kline thanks you for your warm welcome into the PoM family.”
Kline is a native of Philadelphia and has served in the Army since he received his commission in 1997.
In an interview, Kline said his priorities as garrison commander are life, health, safety and the continuity of command. “I want to take care of people and empower them to do their jobs and do them well,” he said.
Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps personnel study at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center at the Presidio, and Kline said that in the Presidio’s joint-service environment, choices are simple when everyone remembers we all work for the same goals.
In addition, Kline said he looks forward to continuing the partnerships with the Presidio’s surrounding communities.
“We’ve enjoyed partnerships for the past decades and I’m looking forward to productive and mutually beneficial relationships in the future,” Kline said.
View the ceremony at https://www.facebook.com/PresidioMonterey/videos/713803073177002