“It’s a special day…to celebrate the change of command but more importantly, to celebrate the community partnerships and the important mission that takes place here at PTA,” said, Col. Steve McGunegle, U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii commander who officiated the ceremony. “It’s no small feat that we all get to be here today.”
He highlighted the important role Pōhakuloa Training Area has not only for the military but the civilian community as well. “We are part of the community,” McGunegle said.
“As I reflect on the two plus years in command of the “Team of Teams” and as a member of this wonderful community, I’m filled with a variety of emotions but two come to the forefront,” said outgoing commander Lt. Col. Kevin Cronin during his farewell speech. “An immense sense of pride to serve with this wonderful team of civilians that enable the readiness of the men and women that serve our country, and gratitude from the warm embrace and support of the Hawaiian Island community.”
Cronin’s message to the incomming commander was, “Tim, you’re perfect for this position. The Army got it right. Enjoy every minute, it goes by fast.”
Taking the helm is Lt. Col. Tim Alvarado who is no stranger to Hawaii having served with the 25th Infantry Division and the Pacific Ocean Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2005, following his completion of the Officer Basic Course. He hails from Charleston, South Carolina, and his most recent assignment was at U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Headquarters, Fort Bragg where he served as the Vice Chief of Staff and Operations Officer for the USASOC Human Performance and Wellness Directorate.
“This opportunity is an honor and privilege to come back to Hawaii, and be part of Pōhakuloa Training Area,” said Alvarado. He recalls a motto from a business card he received long ago which he has kept near to his heart all these years: ‘A'ohe hana nui ke alu ‘ia - No Task is to big when we work together.’
“I think it embodies what we face together here, whether it’s a volcanic eruption, wildfires, Soldiers training, community projects, vehicle accidents, wild goats…the tasks are more manageable if we work together,” said Alvarado. “Together, we will always be ready.”
Enhancing the event were retired Brigadier Gen. Moses Kaoiwi and the Kapele ‘ohana reciting poems on their ties and experiences with Pōhakuloa Training Area and the aina. The 25th Infantry Division Band also provided musical entertainment.
Some distinguished guests included Senator Tim Richards, Representatives David Tarnas and Richard Onishi, Civilian Aides to the Secretary of the Army Noelani Kalipi and Bill Moore (Emeritus), former State Senator Laura Acasio, Brig. Gen. Steve Marks, US Army HQ representative Col. Jeremy Bell, and Marine Corps Base Hawaii Commander Col. Jeremy Beven.
**All photos and videos available at https://www.dvidshub.net/feature/PTACoC