FORT DEVENS, Mass. (July 20, 2010) - Army Reserve Soldiers of the 655th Regional Support Group from Fort Devens, Mass., participated in a change of command ceremony July 17 as they welcomed their new commander, Col. Ernest Erlandson, who also recently served as the acting commander of the 475th Quartermaster Petroleum Group in Farrell, Pa.
"I am really excited to take an RSG command," Erlandson spoke on his new assignment. "This will give me a new opportunity to test new skills and to interact with Soldiers that I now have an opportunity to serve with."
Brig. Gen. Peter Lennon, commander of the 316th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, headquartered in Coraopolis, Pa., presided over the ceremony as a member of the official party. He describes the ceremony as "a time-honored tradition within the military that allows us to recognize the outgoing commander and to welcome the incoming commander."
During the ceremony, Erlandson, of Brookville, Pa., participated in the passing of the unit's colors. In a symbolic movement, Erlandson grasped the unit's flag with both hands, denoting the acceptance of his new role as the 655th RSG commander and thus relinquishing the duties and responsibilities from the unit's former commander, Col. Stephen Falcone.
Falcone, now the new commander of the 77th Sustainment Brigade in Fort Dix, N.J., has the additional challenge of not only being their new commander but also preparing his new unit for a deployment overseas. Even with his focus on this new task, he made sure to take the time to address his former Soldiers.
"It's been a pleasure, an honor and a privilege serving with you, and I hope to serve with you again," said Falcone, a Hudson, Mass., resident. "I will see you on the high ground."
The 655th RSG is home to over 1,300 Soldiers all residing within the Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Connecticut and Rhode Island areas. The unit's primary focus is to provide contingency and expeditionary base operations support with responsibilities for managing facilities, providing administrative and logistical support of Soldier services and ensuring the security of personnel and facilities on a base camp. They provide command and control of assigned units during homeland security, homeland defense and civil support missions within the United States to include managing the reception, staging, onward movement, and integration of supporting forces.
When not deployed, the RSG provides command and control for training, readiness and mobilization oversight of assigned forces.