FORT KNOX, Ky. – U.S. Army V Corps held a combined farewell and welcome ceremony, referred to as Victory Honors, with special guest Polish Minister of National Defense Mariusz Błaszczak, for V Corps’ deputy commanding generals at the V Corps Headquarters here, July 18.
The ceremony, hosted by V Corps Commanding General Lt. Gen. John S. Kolasheski, highlighted the corps’ interoperability with Poland, honored outgoing Maj. Gen. Jeffery D. Broadwater and Polish Maj. Gen. Adam Joks, and welcomed incoming deputy commanding generals Polish Maj. Gen. Maciej W. Jablonski and Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Lambert.
During the ceremony, Błaszczak spoke about the U.S. and Polish partnership in the wake of the Russian attacks on Ukraine and the importance of V Corps in Europe.
“This unstable security situation has required a very prompt adaptation of our posture. Last year we implemented the home of defense act in Poland and we consequently enhanced the potential of the Polish Armed Forces with the United States as the main partner in this process,” said Błaszczak. “Given the V Corps mission, I perceive its role in this endeavor of the highest importance. The United States troops, and V Corps in particular, are more than welcome in Poland.
“I’m happily observing the growth of the V Corps capability,” Błaszczak continued. “The enhancement of the troops’ readiness and the ability to maintain operational command and control over assigned units deters our adversary.”
Following his speech, Błaszczak awarded the corps' commanding general with the gold Polish Army Medal. Kolasheski thanked him for the recognition and attributed his success to the tens of thousands of Soldiers that work for him and their commitment to the mission.
“It is for the unity and protection of our shared values for which we commit ourselves to ensuring and supporting the Ukraine and European security. A commitment to which this headquarters, V Corps, serves a tangible illustration of America’s commitment to European security,” said Kolasheski. “[Minister of Defense's] presence here today solidifies the bond between our nations and between our armies. We sincerely appreciate the opportunity to serve, train and build capability alongside you and your Soldiers.”
He continued, “The leaders we bid farewell to today have been instrumental in leading the activities we took to bolster security along Europe’s eastern flank and deter Russian aggression against the NATO allies during the most consequential time since the end of the cold war.”
Joks, from Ostrzeszów, Poland, was the first Polish officer to be assigned to a U.S. military outfit since the Revolutionary War. He joined V Corps in August 2021 and will return to Poland to continue service in the Polish Land Forces.
“Admittedly, I was very excited and nervous when I initially arrived at Fort Knox… I questioned if I would be able to successfully integrate into this new environment and meet the stringent V Corps requirements and expectations,” said Joks. “Standing before you today, I know how V Corps fights and how it builds readiness. I can state confidently, V Corps and its Soldiers are prepared to fight and win wars in a complex, multinational environment and I am very proud of it.”
Broadwater, a Radcliff, Kentucky native, took over as V Corps deputy commanding general in August 2021 and will be retiring from the Army after a 35-year career in a private ceremony Friday.
“It’s been an honor to serve in V Corps during this historic time,” said Broadwater. “Not only for the U.S., but for the world.”
During the ceremony, Kolasheski also welcomed two new deputy commanding generals.
Jablonski, from Koszalin, Poland, is taking over for Joks as deputy commanding general of interoperability. Prior to coming to V Corps, he worked as the Polish Land Forces Inspector.
“I fully understand how important the interoperability and the frontline European armies are,” said Jablonski. “As the deputy commanding general of interoperability, I will do my best just to support our commander and the V Corps mission.”
Lambert joins the corps after serving as deputy commanding general of maneuver for the 3rd Infantry Division out of Fort Stewart, Georgia.
“Under [Kolasheski’s] leadership, V Corps has reassured our allies, deterred further Russian aggression and stands ready to reinforce the alliance by executing large scale operations should deterrence fail,” said Lambert, who will serve as V Corps deputy commanding general of support. “I look forward to serving with fellow deputy commanding generals, Maj. Gen Timothy Thombleson and Jablonski, and contributing to this historic organization’s incredible legacy.”
As America's forward deployed Corps, V Corps works alongside NATO allies and regional security partners to provide combat-credible forces; executes joint, bilateral and multinational training exercises; and provides command and control for rotational and assigned units in the European theater while building local community relationships.