The USACE Transatlantic Expeditionary District held an assumption of command and change of command ceremony at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, June 28, 2021.
Sergeant Major Jun Tomagan assumed the Senior Enlisted Advisor role from Master Sergeant Ron Brown, interim Command Sergeant Major, who returns to his original duties as the area office NCOIC, prior to leading the team for the past two months as the CSM of the Expeditionary District.
“I would like to thank the team, and give a special shout out to MSG Brown for the warm welcome and setting up this great event for the District,” said Tomagan. “You have been holding down the fort for a couple months as a true professional, with great dedication to the team and its mission.”
One thing that resonates with all Soldiers is the dedication of not just the Soldiers who are deployed, but most importantly the families, and Tomagan said he would be remised if he didn’t thank his wife and three children for “letting dad go on quick notice”. “I love you all and great things are to come because of our sacrifices we do in life,” said Tomagan.
Sergeant Major Tomagan said it is always vital to sustain continuity, but it is just as significant to welcome change. “I look forward to serving alongside the Commander and this great team of professionals,” he said. “I am Jun Tomagan and I am on your team!”
At the top of that team is Colonel Kenneth N. Reed who assumed command from Colonel Mark A. Geraldi of the Transatlantic Expeditionary District during the time-honored Change of Command Ceremony.
Upon thanking all those who took time to share this event with the team of teams of the Expeditionary District, Col. Reed said he was truly humbled and thankful for the opportunity to command a district that has consistently brought value to the Nation.
“I recognize this blessing and am excited to be taking command of such a distinguished organization,” said Reed. He noted that commanding America’s great Soldiers and government civilians is a sacred trust and proceeded to thank some of the individuals that made this possible.
“Brigadier General Colloton thanks for the opportunity to lead this district as we continue to answer the Nation’s call,” said Reed. He thanked his wife and children for their continued support saying, “You keep me grounded and make life fun, I love you all,” he said.
Col. Reed thanked Team Geraldi commending Stephanie for continuing to work on the foundation, noting that her hard work has paid off and that he couldn’t have asked for a better transition. He thanked the outgoing commander, Col. Mark Geraldi for his professionalism, friendship, and advice, saying he is grateful for the impressive legacy.
And most importantly to those he begins to lead, Col. Reed addressed the dedicated members of the District, who selflessly serve in support of the CENTCOM mission. “I am impressed by your professionalism and accomplishments,” said Reed. He stated that the week’s transition reminded him of an Edmund Hillary quote that says, “People do not decide to become extraordinary. They decide to accomplish extraordinary things!”
“You have consistently accomplished extraordinary things and I am excited to become a member of the family,” said Reed. “I am committed to this organization as we continue the legacy of excellence and demonstrate the value that we bring to the Nation,” he said.
And with these words, “Ma’am I am signing on the net!” We welcome Col. Kenneth N. Reed as the second commander of the Transatlantic Expeditionary District.
At the same time we bid a fond farewell to Col. Mark A. Geraldi who as BG Kimberly Colloton said was the last commander for the Afghanistan District and the First Commander for the Transatlantic Expeditionary District.
Prior to the Change of Command ceremony Col. Geraldi was presented with the Joint Meritorious Service Medal and surprised by Transatlantic Division commander, BG Kimberly Colloton who virtually presented him with the Silver de-Fleury medal for his outstanding and significant support to the engineer regiment.
She noted how Col. Geraldi continued to bring together the team of teams, all engineers military and civilian from all organizations across the theater, you are constantly connecting those connections that make our regiment stronger. This was all on the heels of the three years before that as the commander of the USACE Seattle District, while side-stepping as the Southwest Border District Commander.
“You have earned this Silver Medal more than ten times over,” said Colloton.
“To be surprised with the Silver de Fleury, I was not expecting it at all, it is very humbling,” said Geraldi. “As most folks know this philosophy, receiving the award is not about the person receiving it, but about the team that they served with.”
Geraldi went on to say that he has been fortunate to serve in many premier organizations, that achieved amazing things on and off the battlefield, but none of them could have accomplished what the Expeditionary District team of teams has realized over the past year.
“Faced with the compounding dilemmas of the COVID-19 pandemic, indefinite suspension of R&R, optimization and retrograde from the Afghanistan Combined Joint Operations Area, establishing a new over-the-horizon platform in Kuwait, and las but not least, combining two brigade-level commands (TF Essayons and the Afghanistan District) into the consolidated Expeditionary District, our teammates excelled in every facet,” said Col. Geraldi.
Colonel Geraldi went on to say on top of all this, they simultaneously continued to deliver our full $650 M construction program across Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Col. Geraldi gave thanks to the Transatlantic Division Team, BG Colloton and CSM Romani for providing their vision and guidance, to his commissioned officers he served alongside in LTC Paul Sipe and LTC Stephanie Radford, to his Non-commissioned officers of SGM Nathan Marshall, MSG Ron Brown and now SGM Jun Tomagan.
Then there is that “Team of Teams” which includes our civilian workforce, represented by senior civilians or DPMs Bryton Johnson and Margaret Jones, who did much of the heavy lifting, in some cases literally, to make this all happen on schedule.
But most importantly to Soldier Geraldi he wanted to thank all of the spouses and family members of both the military and Department of Army Civilians for their sacrifices. “For me, represented by Stephanie Scarlet, my bride of 25 years, who has endured yet another deployment, I love you babe,” he said.
And as Col. Geraldi prepares for his next assignment he welcomed the Reed family to the platform, calling them friends and battle buddies, joyful that their paths have crossed once again, and reiterating how the expeditionary district will be in great hands and blessed by the warm hearts of the Reed leadership.