AGRAM AIRFIELD, AFGHANISTAN. — U.S Forces-Afghanistan hosted a change of command ceremony between Col. James “Jay” E. Walker and Col. Daniel J. Benick at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, July 17. Walker, a native of Newport News, Virginia, who has taken a position at the Pentagon, noted his gratitude for the job done by the Soldiers under his command.
“While this ceremony symbolizes mission completion of one command team and the beginning of another, it also serves to recognize the vast and significant contributions the Soldiers have made over the past two years,” said Walker. “I want to thank all of you for your diligence and attention to detail; the deliberate efforts made by this organization during the brigade’s deployment will pay huge dividends for the future Soldiers of the ‘Lightning Brigade’.”
Maj. Gen. John C. Thomson III, Deputy Commanding General-Support, United States Forces-Afghanistan, presided over the ceremony.
A change of command ceremony represents the official transfer of authority and responsibility from one commanding officer to another.
Thomson expressed confidence in Benick’s ability to command the transformed 525th Military Intelligence Brigade.
Benick, a Fort Bragg native, commissioned in the Army as a military intelligence officer in 1995. His 22-year career includes 13 years at Bragg and previous assignments throughout the U.S. and Korea. His operational deployments include six tours to Afghanistan and one tour each to Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
A historic Army tradition, the ceremony ensures the unit is never without leadership and displays an allegiance from the Soldiers to their new commander.
Prior to taking command of 525th MI Bde. and Task Force Lightning, Benick was assigned to the Pentagon serving in the HQDA G2 Initiatives Group.
“I am proud to be a part of the outstanding history of this unit and honored to take command of the Army’s premier military intelligence brigade, particularly here in Afghanistan as we execute our wartime mission,” said Benick. “Your reputation precedes you, and I look forward to working with all of you to accomplish our current mission and all future endeavors.”