CAMP SHELBY, Miss. -- Maj. Gen. Kevin R. Wendel, First Army Division East commanding general, hosted a change of command ceremony at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Aug. 4. Col. Thomas S. Hollis relinquished command responsibility to Col. Christopher S. Forbes on the parade field.

While thanking Hollis for his dedicated service over the past two years, Wendel said that Hollis’ persistent efforts improved our ability to certify trainers for the NATO training mission.

“Hollis was committed to the mission, always proactive, trained to standard and capitalized on every opportunity to make every unit we worked with better,” said Wendel.

In the last two years, the brigade has contributed to the readiness of more than 80 units and almost 14,000 personnel trained for combat operation in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo and the Horn of Africa.

Hollis compared himself to George Bailey in his favorite movie “It’s A Wonderful Life”. The character discovers one of the simplest most rewarding acts we can do is in service to others. He said that being a Soldier allows him to contribute something bigger than himself.

“I keep pinching myself wondering if it’s real,” said Hollis, “I am living proof that dreams do come true.”

Hollis’ next duty assignment will be the chief of the Mission Command Center of Excellence at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

Forbes, the incoming commander of the 158th Infantry Brigade, is a native of Greenville, S.C. He recently served on the International Security Armed Forces Joint Command Staff in Kabul as the Corps chief of future operations and the assistant Chief of Staff while in Afghanistan.

“My family and I are honored, humbled and excited to be part of the 158th and 177th Infantry Brigade, the Camp Shelby team and part of the 1st Army Division East and 1st Army,” said Forbes.

Speaking to the Soldiers of the 158th, Forbes said, “While not on the front lines today, our mission is vitally important. The training you provide the men and women going into combat is crucial to their success.”