Guardians of the South change guard

  • Published
  • By Sgt. 1st Class Alexis Ramos
  • Special Operations Command South
Special Operations Command South held a change of command ceremony in its headquarter building in Homestead Air Reserve Base, Florida, June 5, 2018.

Rear Adm. Collin P. Green relinquished command to U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Antonio M. Fletcher.

Adm. Kurt W. Tidd, commanding general for U.S. Southern Command, was the presiding officer for the ceremony. U.S. Army Gen. Raymond A. Thomas III, commander for U.S. Special Operations Command, attended the event and was also a guest speaker.

Tidd praised the outgoing commander for everything he accomplished while leading SOCSOUTH but also recognized that moments with leadership changes are bittersweet.

“They are sweet because we get the opportunity to welcome a new commander, but it’s always a little sad because it’s time to say goodbye to a great leader,” said Tidd. “So while it’s difficult to say goodbye it’s a special honor to be here so that we can all recognize Collin and this fine team’s accomplishments and it paves the way for Tony taking the baton."

Tidd then welcomed Fletcher as the incoming commander for SOCSOUTH.

“I’m thrilled that we get to keep you as part of the SOCSOUTH and SOUTHCOM team. SOCSOUTH could not have a more qualified officer as its new commander and I know that you will continue to build on the successes of this command in the years ahead," said Tidd.

General Thomas then took the lectern and echoed many of the same sentiments as Tidd.

“Collin, the efforts of you and your team have protected the lives of countless American citizens, advanced the interests of the United States in the SOUTHCOM area of operations, and added to the legacy of U.S. SOF and USSOCOM,” said Thomas.

Thomas then transitioned to the incoming commander.

“I have been privileged to serve with this officer in combat and he is absolutely the right man at the right time to take SOCSOUTH to the next level,” said Thomas.

The outgoing commander, Green, spoke next and thanked everyone who contributed to his success during his tenure.

“… To the men and women of SOCSOUTH, as it was 26 months ago, leading this command has been a distinct honor,” said Green. “You are relevant and make a difference every day in defense of our country. Thank you for your commitment, work ethic, and dedication to this mission and one another.”

Fletcher closed by thanking both Admiral Tidd and General Thomas for the opportunity to take command. He also thanked friends and families and everyone who has helped him in his career thus far.

“I don’t want to overlook or minimize one aspect that has truly made this opportunity possible for me. Every success I’ve achieved during my military career is indeed a testament to the power of teamwork and the effectiveness of a world-class support network,” said Fletcher. “It will be my focus to build upon the outstanding work that Admiral Green and this team have accomplished.”

Fletcher is SOCSOUTH’s 16th commander since the command’s activation more than 30 years ago.