By Tom BudzynaJuly 11, 2012
SCHINNEN, Netherlands (July 11, 2012) -- The only U.S. Army garrison in the Netherlands cased its colors here in a July 11 ceremony presided by Kathleen Marin, Regional Director, Installation Management Command Europe to formally mark USAG Schinnen's transition to a managed site and its designation as USAG Benelux - Schinnen.
Lt. Col. Chad R. Arcand, garrison commander, relinquished command after casing the colors with Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Alicia A Castillo. Both represent the garrison's last military command group.
Leading USAG Benelux - Schinnen now is Kimberly Wayland, deputy garrison manger.
"While the designation and scale of Garrison Schinnen will change now that we have cased the garrison colors, Installation Management Command's commitment to our mission, our Dutch neighbors, service members, families, and civilians will not change," Marin said.
"Schinnen remains an important support hub for NATO Allied Forces North Battalion,
U.S. and Canadian service members, U.S. Air Force 470th Wing on Geilenkirchen NATO Air Base, NATO's Joint Forces Command Brunssum, and numerous NATO partners and units throughout northern Belgium, northern Germany and the Netherlands" Marin said.
"The front-door services that our customers have grown to know will remain," Wayland said.
"Our commitment to our customers is priority one. We expect this transition to be smooth. Out on the horizon we plan to relocate our operations to the NATO Industrial Complex Site in Brunssum, Netherlands, but that isn't expected to happen until 2016," Wayland said.
USAG Benelux Garrison Commander Col. Ricky L. Tillotson lauded the accomplishments of Lt. Col. Arcand and Command Sgt. Maj Castillo in his remarks during the July 11 ceremony for leading USAG Schinnen through a difficult period of transition.
In the past two years, USAG Schinnen reduced its strength by at least six U.S. military, 23 Department of the Army and 14 host nation positions along with the transition of special staff and other functions to the USAG Benelux headquarters in Chièvres, Belgium.
The reductions in strength were part of an effort throughout IMCOM Europe to reduce and reshape organizational structures. The effort also called for the elimination of leases where possible, which prompted the effort to end the current lease for the Emma Mine Complex in Schinnen and to relocate to lease/rent-free properties on the NATO Industrial Complex, or NIC Site.
Changes are happening throughout the Benelux region. Col. Tillotson relinquishes command of USAG Benelux July 12, 2012 to Col. Sergio M. Dickerson, who is coming from the USAREUR G-3 where he served as the CBRN Officer.
"Indeed, many of you will not notice a significant change in customer support once we case the colors today. We'll also maintain strong ties to the local Dutch government, especially our good friends at the Schinnen Town Hall and Fire Department," Marin said.
Like many U.S. installations in Europe, the base in Schinnen relies on Dutch emergency responders and has forged a positive working relationship with local fire, police and the Royal Dutch Marechaussee (military police) through regular participation in exercises, conferences and other events. Because most host nation personnel are Dutch Ministry of Defense employees, the U.S. sustains a special link with their Dutch ally here.
USAG Benelux - Schinnen provides base operations support to Army, Air Force, Navy and other joint, inter-agency, and international personnel supporting U.S. interests in NATO throughout northern Germany, northern Belgium and the Netherlands.