On a cool morning June 22, Soldiers in formation and guests on Meadows Field gathered to see Col. James F. Brown take command of the 95th Civil Affairs Brigade from Col. James J. Wolff.
The brigade welcomed Brown, who served as the brigade’s deputy commanding officer from May 2009 to June 2010. Brown most recently served as commander of the civil affairs advisory and assistance team to Gen. John R. Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. Wolff’s new assignment will take him to Afghanistan to fill a key civil affairs billet.
Wolff led the brigade as it added a fifth battalion last October, while also increasing the brigade’s strength by another five companies, spread across its four other battalions. Wolff also supported the establishment of a second, active-duty CA brigade at Fort Hood, Texas and improved the recruiting and training of civil affairs Soldiers and officers at Fort Bragg.
Under Wolff’s direction, the brigade also improved its financial and personnel management systems and safety program, resulting in major Army and U.S. Army Special Operations Command awards. Under his guidance, the brigade centralized its approach to allocate, develop and align resources and Soldier career paths to meet special operations force generation requirements, enabling CA Soldiers and their Families to better plan their personal and Family lives.
Lt. Gen. John F. Mulholland, Jr., USASOC’s commanding general, hosted the event and praised Wolff’s leadership of the brigade for the past two years.
“You cannot go anywhere in the world that is important to the United States of America and not find an Army special operations Soldier ... in many cases, it’s going to be a civil affairs Soldier or a civil affairs team … helping to connect organizations, both official and unofficial, military and non-governmental, to bring relief, aid, and infrastructure. Or they’re committed downrange
“… But all that takes leadership. And under Jay Wolff, that leadership has just been extraordinary,” Mulholland said.
In his final remarks to his troops, Wolff noted, “Our CA teams operate in complex, dangerous and ambiguous environments. I’m amazed on a daily basis on their ability to plan and conduct operations that assist U.S. ambassadors in achieving our nation’s foreign policy objectives while supporting the TSOC (Theater Special Operations Command) commander’s intermediate military objectives. The accolades from ambassadors and supported commanders are now routine. And the recognition from partner nation militaries continues to grow.”
Wolff noted that last month, two civil affairs Soldiers were awarded the Philippine Bronze Cross for bravery. “I have been blessed to live vicariously through your SITREPS (situation reports),” Wolff said.
In his first address as brigade commander, Brown said, “This day is not about me. As Jay stated, it’s about the accomplishments of the Soldiers who stand before you and those whohave gone before them. … I look forward to working closely and enabling these commanders to continue this tradition of excellence in support of USASOC and our nation’s priorities.”
Brown’s previous military service includes assignment as a platoon leader in Korea; aide-de-camp and company commander with the U.S. Army Recruiting Command; and serving on Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf’s personal staff during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. As a CA officer, Brown served as a team leader, operations officer, theater plans officer and company commander with the 96th CA battalion, as part of Joint Special Operations Task Force Dagger, during the initial phase of Operation Enduring Freedom, from October 2001 through April 2002, when U.S. forces toppled the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
While on the staff of the Third U.S. Army, Brown helped plan civil and international military operations in Iraq. He then advised the Kuwaiti government in coordinating the international humanitarian community’s response to limit the effects on combat operations on Iraqi peoples during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Brown later commanded the 97th CA Battalion to support Special Operations Command-Pacific, before becoming the brigade’s deputy commanding officer in 2009.