VICENZA, Italy – Soldiers of the 207th Military Intelligence Brigade (Theater) welcomed Col. Stephen T. Skells to their command recently as they bid farewell to Col. Mark A. Denton.
During a May 23 change of command ceremony at U.S. Army Garrison Italy, Skells assumed command from Denton, as hundreds of people watched, both on the Caserma Ederle’s Hoekstra Field and via Livestream. Skells was previously the senior intelligence officer at Southern European Task Force – Africa, headquartered at nearby Caserma Del Din.
Heartfelt speeches followed the traditional passing of the brigade guidon. Then, bereted troops from subordinate battalions presented unit colors as the 338th Army Band played ceremonial music during a pass and review.
Since 2016, Lightning Brigade Soldiers have supported SETAF-AF and U.S. Africa Command by providing critical information to leaders planning and executing operations on the African continent. Under Denton's command, the brigade thrived under the guiding principles of Lightning P.R.I.D.E - people, readiness, innovation, development, and empowerment. Denton’s vision centered on creating a positive and nurturing command climate, fostering an environment where Soldiers felt compelled to care for and support each other – making the brigade an assignment of choice.
Denton, whose next assignment is in Washington D.C., said brigade Soldiers remain steadfast to their commitment to excellence, unity and fulfilling its critical intelligence activities throughout the African theater of operations.
"The Lightning Brigade is a safe environment with disciplined, engaged servant leaders who inspire, develop, and deliver intelligence enterprise as competent warriors of character, ready to win in a complex environment," Denton said.
Maj. Gen. Michele H. Bredenkamp, Commanding General of the United States Army Intelligence and Security Command presided over the ceremony. She recognized the complexity of the 207th's mission.
“This unit has a very complex mission,” Bredenkamp said. “Col. Denton skillfully led Soldiers and civilians.”
Skells said he is looking forward to an exciting new chapter for the brigade, continuing to serve humbly and leading the way as Lightning warriors, alongside dedicated civilians and supportive family members.
"The 207th has an important mission on the African continent, and our Soldiers are ready," said Skells, during his first interview with the American Forces Network. "Through cohesive teams, tough training, and ensuring this brigade sets the conditions for a successful army intelligence enterprise, from AFRICOM to on the continent."