GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — Col. Mark Colbrook, garrison commander at U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria, relinquished command at a ceremony here June 3.
The ceremony and passing of the command’s colors was presided over by Michael D. Formica, region director, Installation Management Command Europe.
Col. Bill Rieper will take on the responsibilities as the acting garrison commander until the new commander, Col. Lance Varney, arrives in July.
Colbrook assumed command of USAG Bavaria July 2, 2014. Just prior to his arrival, USAG Grafenwoehr had been re-designated as USAG Bavaria, which now now overseas Army installations in Grafenwoehr, Vilseck, Hohenfels and Garmisch.
“In transition and consolidation we have adapted and continue to find ways to provide the best support possible to enable our mission partners to meet the demands of their own missions around the globe and in support of U.S. Army Europe,” Colbrook said in his final remarks.
Colbrook paid special tribute to mission partners, the garrison team, German-American partnerships, 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command, IMCOM, U.S. Army Europe and his family.
During his tenure as garrison commander, Colbrook oversaw major initiatives aimed at reshaping the Army, including the European Reassurance Initiative, the European Infrastructure Consolidation and the establishment of the European Activity Set.
“Mark (Colbrook) had the vision and drive to make this happen,” Formica said. “He overcame every challenge in ensuring this garrison became a power projection platform for European operations.”
Additionally, Colbrook directed the execution for $17 million in projects to receive, stage and deploy rotational forces from Colorado, Georgia and Texas — providing base support for three extra brigades with more than 10,000 warfighters.
“During a time of program and workforce restructuring, he has never lost sight of how changes impact the lives of Soldiers, families and employees,” Formica said. “He always focused on what matters most: people.”
Colbrook acknowledged the changing environment during his command, from the challenges posed by Russia and a refugee situation felt at home, to the complexities of working with Allies, different cultures and a transforming Army.
“Our mission has changed and will continue to change,” Colbrook said. “But together, all of you here today, as one, we have built partner capacity and enhanced the Alliance. Readiness is, and shall remain our number one priority.”
Col. Colbrook will next assume command of Joint Task Force ODIN, which supports intelligence requirements at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan.