By Maj. Sonise LumbacaJuly 26, 2012
FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (July 26, 2012) -- Members of Asymmetric Warfare Group bid farewell to Lt. Col. Thomas Goldner, the outgoing commander of Baker Squadron, and welcomed the incoming commander, Lt. Col. Rafael Lopez, in a change of command ceremony Friday on post.
Col. Patrick J. Mahaney Jr., commander of AWG, presided over the ceremony.
"Colonel Mahaney, thank you for the opportunity to command Baker Squadron," Lopez said in his remarks. "AWG is my home."
The AWG provides operational advisory support to Army and joint force commanders globally to enhance Soldier survivability and combat effectiveness, and enable the defeat of current and emerging threats in support of Unified Land Operations.
Baker Squadron is one of two operational squadrons within the AWG. Its operational advisors embed with forces down range to provide firsthand observations of friendly capability gaps and enemy vulnerabilities, and then utilizes the unit's reach-back capabilities to a variety of problem solvers to identify and rapidly develop solutions.
In his remarks, Mahaney spoke about Baker Squadron's capabilities.
"As our military and civilian leaders continue to emphasize, in order to meet today's challenges and tomorrow's uncertainty, we must field an Army, joint and interagency team that can rapidly dominate any operational environment and achieve decisive results across a full range of missions," Mahaney said.
"Baker Squadron cracked the code on doing that in new ways and in two major combat theaters. With less than 60 talented, dedicated and veteran professionals, the unit directly enhances that Army, joint and interagency team's survivability, effectiveness and adaptability."
Mahaney also noted that Baker Squadron's presence was successful because the unit was directly tied to other AWG elements operating across the "far-flung reaches of the combat zone, where the 'rubber meets the road,' where we fight, where we survive or die, win or lose."
Goldner, who assumed command of Baker Squadron on July 9, 2010, will be assigned as the AWG's operations officer.
"Your performance was stellar, and you really took all guidance and made it happen in the real world," Mahaney said about Goldner's command performance.
Under Goldner's command, Baker Squadron was the first of AWG's operational squadrons to deploy its entire headquarters into a combat zone and provide dedicated support inside an operational-level warfighting command.
"Now well-established, this [squadron headquarters] presence continues to develop tremendous effects today," Mahaney said.
Goldner, a native of Perth Amboy, N.J., is a graduate of East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania and the University of Kansas.
His previous assignments were with the 24th Infantry Division, the Center for Army Lessons Learned, multiple assignments within the 75th Ranger Regiment and various positions within AWG.
During his remarks, Goldner lauded his command time with Baker Squadron.
"I have served and continue to serve in the company of heroes," he said. "I have continued to be reminded of this as members of Baker Squadron have enhanced Soldier survivability and combat effectiveness in far-flung locations around the world.
"Because of the Soldiers, consultants and Department of the Army civilians' service with Baker Squadron, it has been nothing less than awesome. And I'm very thankful to Colonel Mis and Colonel Mahaney for the opportunity," he said.
Lopez, a native of Teaneck, N.J., is a graduate of the University of Florida and the School of Advanced Military Studies.
He previously served with the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 3rd Infantry Division 317th Engineer Battalion and in several positions within the AWG including as operations officer.
"This unit is special," Lopez said at the ceremony. "Over the last seven years, it has largely shaped my view and understanding of world events, of how the Army works, of how good people work together and of how a small but determined team can make change happen. I am honored."