By Russell Sellers, Army Flier StaffJuly 15, 2010
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- "Freedom's Voice" could be heard saying "Here Am I, Send Me," echoing the mottos of Air Traffic Services Command and 164th Theater Airfield Operations Group, as Soldiers welcomed their new commander here July 8.
Col. James R. Macklin Jr. took command of ATSCOM and 164th TAOG during a ceremony at the U.S. Army Aviation Museum.
Macklin is a recent graduate of the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pa. His last command was with 3rd Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment from June 2006 to December 2008. He is joined here by his wife, Macie, and their three children.
Both 164th TAOG and ATSCOM fall under the U.S. Army Forces Command. ATSCOM's mission is to provide airspace and air traffic services support, ensure safety of operations, standardization and controller and Army Air Traffic Control unit certification. The 164th TAOG's mission is to improve Army airfields, assist Army air traffic controllers and provide general airfield operations oversight.
"It's an honor to be standing here today," Macklin said. "This unique organization has a stellar reputation as a focused unit with a world-wide mission. It's continued participation in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom proves their worth to both the Aviation Branch and the Army."
Macklin said he plans to meet the challenges the unit faces in the coming months and will strive to continue providing "the best air traffic services world-wide."
He was commissioned in June 1988 through ROTC at Mercer University, Macon, Ga. He earned a Master of Science degree in International Relations from Troy University and a Master of Strategic Studies Degree from the U.S. Army War College.
Lt. Gen. Joseph Peterson, FORSCOM deputy commanding general and ceremony officiator, praised the services of both the incoming and outgoing commanders. He expects Macklin to continue the "critical mission" of ATSCOM and 164th TAOG.
"I challenge you to grasp the reigns and take these two outstanding units to the next level," he said. "Build on the foundation that has been set here. Remain focused on developing solutions that will truly enable our Soldiers to succeed in battle."
The two units bid farewell to Col. Jon P. Goodsmith, who has commanded since July 2008.
"I'm so proud of all your hard work," Goodsmith said to the units. "You have made a lasting impression on the ATS community. You are my passion and my enthusiasm."
He closed by saying the Macklin Family is the "right command team, at the right time" for both units.
"The command is now yours. Enjoy it," Goodsmith said. "Lead them with pride and enthusiasm."
His next assignment is to assist with the realignment of ATSCOM command structure as the FORSCOM liaison officer to U.S. Joint Forces Command at Fort McPherson, Ga.
Goodsmith was commissioned in the Aviation Branch after graduating from Northern Arizona University in 1985 and holds a master's degree in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College.
Prior to the change of command, Peterson presented Goodsmith with the Legion of Merit for his service and achievements while commander of ATSCOM and 164th TAOG. His wife, Debbie, and their children were also honored by Peterson. He presented Debbie with a Certificate of Appreciation from FORSCOM, while the two children were given Army Brat Certificates from ATSCOM and 164th TAOG.