HOHENFELS, Germany -- Lt. Col. John J. Strange Jr. assumed command of U.S. Army Garrison Hohenfels, March 1. Col. James E. Saenz, USAG Grafenwoehr commander, presided over the ceremony. No stranger to Germany, Strange was born in Augsburg and said he and his family had been hoping to return to Germany for many years.

"There have been many changes since that time," Saenz said, "but I can tell you Bavaria remains one of the best places to be stationed."

Strange's most recent assignments include two tours in Iraq as an advisor to Iraqi Security Forces.

Strange succeeds Lt. Col. Kevin J. Quarles, whose next assignment will be as the deputy brigade commander at Fort Bragg, N.C.

"USAG Hohenfels has earned a reputation for being one of the finest garrisons in the European theater," said Saenz. "Quarles, through his leadership, is responsible for a great deal of that."

Saenz praised Quarles for overseeing an aggressive environmental program and for taking the lead among European garrisons in finalizing and launching local community engagement actions, particularly pioneering the first Sustainable Communities Partnership between the U.S. Army in Europe and a host nation.

Quarles remarked that for a small community, Hohenfels had accomplished great things, and attributed that success to the commitment, professionalism and spirit of cooperation between the garrison, Joint Multinational Readiness Command, local German partners and the Hohenfels community as a whole.

"I have never been part of a community like this, and it has truly been my pleasure to serve you," Quarles added.

While acknowledging that Quarles left big shoes for him to fill, Strange also said Quarles left him feeling extremely confident as he assumed his new responsibilities.

"To Hohenfels, I pledge to give my best to support the important training mission here and to provide for the quality of life for our Soldiers and families," Strange said.