Brigade changes command

By Troy Darr, U.S. Army NATOJuly 10, 2024

Brigade changes command
Maj. Gen. Ronald R. Ragin passes the U.S. Army NATO Brigade guidon to Col. Jeremiah D. Pope during a change of command ceremony at Sembach Kaserne in Germany. Ragin is the 21st Theater Sustainment Command commanding general and served as the host for the July 10 ceremony. The brigade bid farewell to Col. Troy V. Alexander during the ceremony. (Photo Credit: Troy Darr) VIEW ORIGINAL

SEMBACH, Germany – U.S. Army NATO bid farewell to the outgoing brigade commander, Col. Troy V. Alexander, and welcomed Col. Jeremiah D. Pope during a change of command ceremony July 10 at Sembach Kaserne.

The ceremony was hosted by Maj. Gen. Ronald R. Ragin, 21st Theater Sustainment Command commanding general, who passed the unit colors during the ceremony representing the transfer of authority and responsibility for the unit from one commander to another.

“Thank you all for joining us for today's special occasion as we welcome Col. Jeremiah Pope and his family to command and bid a bittersweet farewell to Col. Troy Alexander and his family,” said Ragin. “I am honored to be here today, not only to farewell Troy and welcome Jerry, but to do so for a truly incredible team that is the NATO Brigade.

“Supporting 44 NATO organizations across 85 locations in 22 countries, the NATO Brigade is the Army's premier support unit within NATO, providing training, logistics support, human resources, and administrative assistance to U.S. Army NATO Soldiers and their families.

“Troy, you entered this command at one of the most tumultuous times in Europe in the 21st century.

“The continent was on a precipice of conflict not seen since the Cold War.

“But one thing was and still is certain, NATO is strong, and our commitment to defend every inch of NATO territory remains.

“In response to the Russian invasion into Ukraine, your brigade ensured Soldiers were prepared for deployment streamlining administrative requirements to ensure our Soldiers were 100% focused on the mission at hand.

“After the 2023 earthquakes that hit Turkey, your team provided crucial support to relief efforts, overcoming numerous logistical hurdles, and enabling Soldiers to effectively contribute their expertise.

“And back at the flagpole, the brigade expanded connections to the Soldier and Family Readiness Group to proactively address family concerns by providing knowledge, preparation, and community building activities.

“Under Troy's command, this team has achieved significant milestones.

“But, behind every great leader is a supportive family, so thank you to the entire Alexander family: your unwavering support and patience have been key to this brigade's success. Thank you for your commitment and dedication to Troy, our Army, and our Nation.

“As we turn a new page, we are thrilled to welcome Jerry and his family to this team. To Andrea and the kids: we are excited you are here and we look forward to embracing you as a part of our military family.

“Since its inception in 1949, NATO has been the cornerstone of collective defense and security for the Euro-Atlantic region. It represents not just an alliance of Nations, but a commitment to shared values, mutual defense, and most importantly, peace.

“The United States has been blessed with two oceans and friendly neighbors, but our interests have always demanded our readiness to travel to the defense of others. As Gen. (Christopher G.) Cavoli has stated, ‘a free and prosperous Europe, defended by NATO, remains fundamental to U.S. national security.’

“Make no doubt, our center of gravity in Europe is our alliance.

“The work the NATO Brigade does every day is the connective tissue between our Army and our NATO partners.

“Jerry - I am confident the NATO Brigade will continue to thrive and contribute to the strength and unity of this alliance.

"Uphold this legacy of excellence and know you have an entire Army in your corner,” said Ragin.

After completing a successful command, Alexander’s next assignment is at the Pentagon with the Army’s Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff G1.

“I want to first and foremost give thanks to the Almighty, whose grace and mercy have guided and protected the team across 80 plus locations, 22 nations and three continents while I have been in command,” said Alexander.

“Through faith we have strength and assurance,” he said. “And with faith, we all are stronger together.

“To my family, thank you. Words can never express the gratitude I have in my heart for the sacrifices you have made, especially these two years, in support of my calling to serve.

“Sir, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to make this occasion special for both Jerry and I, and to convey the relevance of USA NATO to our families and Team Steady!

“It is an honor to have you here, and I am humbled by your presence.

“Command Sgt. Maj. (Kisha) Thomas, Sgt. Maj. BW (Dilworth Braithwaite), the band and the entire team who made today possible, you all are champions among champions. Thank you!

“NATO Allies signed the North Atlantic Treaty 75 years ago with a vision that emphasizes safeguarding freedom, democracy, and stability.

“Our role in USA NATO directly contributes to the collective defense and peace preservation that remain central to NATO's mission by ensuring the readiness and national support are provided to those assigned directly to NATO is accomplished.

“The United States Army NATO is a special field activity of the CSA's (Chief of Staff of the Army) office and was established by General Order #46 on December 20, 1950, charged to provide support to Soldiers, civilians, and family members within NATO.

“Over time, the USA NATO, and the brigade within it, has evolved and expanded its mission and support network.

“Today, the USA NATO Brigade is ready and capable to respond in support of our NATO deployable headquarters, rapidly facilitate readiness requirements for our entire team, including sister services and family members, and meet any unforeseen circumstance with a spirit of service and assurance.

“In doing so, this team demonstrates daily that it is capable now.

“Simultaneously, as NATO adapts, USA NATO is adapting to the dynamic environment and is postured as only champions can be to rise to any complexity the future may bring.

“…This team of professionals knows, that we must do our part, which is what no one else is thinking to do, behind the scenes, to enable U.S. commitments to the NATO alliance, adapting to changing geopolitical landscapes and ensuring collective defense and peace.

“Jerry, I know you are the right person to command the brigade to bigger and greater heights.

“Your leadership, faith and character are inspiring.

“I wish you and the Pope family the very best. Your faith is well grounded, so I know NATO Brigade is in good hands!"

Pope comes to the brigade from Poznan, Poland, where he served as the deputy chief of staff (forward) of U.S. Army V Corps.

“Over the past year, I've had the privilege to witness first-hand, how NATO has answered, and continues to answer the call, to deter Russian aggression on Europe’s eastern flank,” said Pope. “During the same time, U.S. Army NATO Brigade, continued to enhance its capabilities, to stand ready to support, whenever, and wherever, needed.

“I intend to continue the work that the men and women of this brigade have started, led by Col. Alexander.

“A solid foundation for the future has been laid, and the baton of leadership has been handed to me by one of the most thoughtful and caring leaders I know.

“Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas, leaders and Soldiers of the brigade, thank you for all the support you have given me to this point.

“I look forward to leading this awesome team, in perpetuating the brigade's distinguished history as part of the most successful military alliance known to date.

“As we move forward, it will take all of our efforts, and a team of teams, to take care of our people, and get after the mission, while remaining Steady and NATO Strong” he said.