Col. Carl D. Bird received the U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart guidon — and command of the garrison — from Col. Richard M. Pastore during a ceremony held July 19 on the Panzer Kaserne parade field.
USAG Stuttgart is responsible for providing the joint Stuttgart military community with safe, secure and quality working, training and living environments, while developing and maintaining good working relationships with local host nation governments.
Under clear, blue skies, Diane Devens, the Installation Management Command Europe region director, presided over the ceremony, passing the garrison colors from Pastore to Bird, as more than 250 invited guests observed.
“Changes of command are not sad occasions. They prove out our song — that the Army goes rolling along — but, it’s never easy to say farewell … ,” said Devens.
She reminded the audience that as one great commander departs, another steps up.
“In Col. Bird, the IMCOM-Europe region gains a commander with an astute personal insight into what it takes to effectively support an Army Family and the war fighter,” Devens said, as she welcomed Bird and his family.
She added that Bird, who comes to Stuttgart following an assignment at the Defense Supply Center Columbus, where he was the director of Land Customer Operations, brings logistician skills that will be “handy in this ever-evolving community.”
Bird’s two deployments to Iraq give him firsthand knowledge of the support that commanders, service members and families need from a garrison, said Devens.
The new garrison commander kept his remarks brief. “We are excited to be here at this great place and look forward to working with the families, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and units assigned here,” Bird said.
In her farewell to the outgoing commander, Devens said Pastore and his wife, Morgan, made a great command team and their teamwork helped to improve the Stuttgart military community.
Pastore, who took command in July 2007, led the garrison through a significant transformation, according to Devens, by standing up a Tiger Team to provide critical infrastructure and service support to ensure that U.S. Africa Command met its initial operating capabilities.
He met the challenge of housing 1,500 AFRICOM families, orchestrated over $150 million in renovation projects, set the IMCOM Europe record for energy conservation and led the first IMCOM-Europe energy symposium, Devens added.
Pastore’s relationships with 16 German communities was equally impressive. “The goodwill he created enhanced understanding and fellowship that translate into absolutely fantastic stationing support that U.S. Forces enjoy from our hosts here in the Stuttgart area,” Devens said.
When Pastore took the podium, he said that serving in Stuttgart was “the singularly most rewarding, edifying and humbling experience of my military career.”
After outlining the accomplishments of the workforce during his tenure, he complimented the employees.
“You should … be exceptionally proud of what you do every day, what you’ve accomplished individually and as part of the most incredible team of professionals I have been associated with,” he said.
Pastore then addressed his replacement. “Col. Bird, welcome to the finest Army community — in the world,” he said.
Pastore now heads to Iraq as a senior advisor to the Iraqi Forces.