Even keel, family-oriented, people first, mission always are just a few phrases Col. Brian Cozine, the new Garrison commander, used to describe himself.
Cozine took command Thursday during a ceremony at Bob Jones Auditorium.
“We’re here to take care of the people the best we can, but we’re definitely focused on accomplishing our mission,” Cozine said. “I like to think that we’re going to be customer-minded with the understanding that we’re here to support the installation and the senior commander but also the people who visit Redstone and work on Redstone each and every day.”
Cozine, who grew up in Springfield, Vermont, has spent more than 30 years serving in the Army. He enlisted in 1990 and spent six and a half years as an enlisted Soldier, had three years off while he was in the Green to Gold program at the University of Tampa
and then started his climb up the officer ranks.
“If you do all of that math, it’s a long time,” Cozine said.
The colonel recalls one mission in particular that has shaped his leadership style and philosophy.
In 2013 an Ebola outbreak raced across western Africa. It was the most widespread outbreak of the disease, which progressed from fever, fatigue, aches and pains to diarrhea and vomiting, and killed over 11,000 people while infecting close to 30,000 by the end of the epidemic.
In 2014, Cozine was deployed with the 101st Airborne Division to the west-African country of Liberia to support Operation United Assistance.
“I always go back to the fact that there’s one mission, one operation. Operation United Assistance was a unique Humanitarian mission that has changed my life. I take more pride in being an integral part of United Assistance and what we accomplished. “I had the great pleasure of hearing the Liberian President (Ellen Johnson Sirleaf) speak during a ceremony. She spoke about how the United States was there to assist the people of Liberia. She emphasized the effort of the United States to be there for the people of Liberia and our presence brought them hope. When they saw the American flag show up on their shores, we were providing them with hope.”
That mission instilled a desire for Cozine to approach every mission with an eye on taking care of people. For the Garrison that means, providing people with the capabilities to “go and do their day-to-day life,” Cozine said.
His last two assignments included planning the COVID-19 response for Department of Defense medical capabilities to deploy across the U.S. and provide vaccinations and medical support to hospitals. . He also provided similar support for Operation Allies Welcome, when the U.S. worked to resettle vulnerable Afghanistan people and their families, who worked side-by-side with U.S. forces for the past two decades, in the states.
“Again, it’s those small things that you’re doing that’s not sitting in Iraq or Afghanistan fighting a war. You’re doing something that’s helping people out.
“I think that resonates a lot, just thinking about who your customers are. Who are you supporting? The military is tailored to fight our nations wars, but in the time of need, we are often called upon to do other missions. ”
The colonel and his wife, Stacey, have two sons, Matthew and Jackson.
Cozine holds three master’s degrees in operational arts and sciences, philosophy of military strategy and joint campaign planning and strategy.
His military schooling includes the Air Defense Artillery Basic Officer Course, Quartermaster Transition Course, Theater Logistics Planners Course, the Air Command and Staff Course, the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies at Maxwell Air Force Base, and the Joint Advanced Warfare School at Norfolk, Virginia.
His awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Bronze Star Medal (two oak leaf clusters), Meritorious Service Medal (four oak leaf clusters), Army Commendation Medal (five oak leaf clusters), Army Achievement Medal (five oak leaf clusters), National Defense Service Medal (one service star), Afghanistan Campaign Medal (one star), Iraqi Campaign Medal (two stars), Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Overseas Service Medal (numeral 6), Army Good Conduct Medal (two knots), National Defense Service Medal (one star), NATO Medal, Presidential Unit Commendation, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Meritorious Unit Commendation (two oak leaf clusters), Parachute Badge, Air Assault Badge and the Rigger’s Badge.
And he’s a Georgia Bulldogs fan who enjoys woodworking.
“I like the fact that people here have the same approach as I do,” Cozine said. “Everybody is very welcoming, and everybody seems to be very, very enthusiastic about helping people out.
“That’s the one message the I’ve gotten from my short time here at Redstone Arsenal. So, hats off to Team Redstone and how they are taking care of people, especially coming out of this COVID environment. Everybody just seems to be very upbeat. They really enjoy their job. They want to be here, and I want to be here.”