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Brig. Gen. Hector Pagan assumes command of SOCSOUTH

  • Published
  • By the 482nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs Office
Army Brig. Gen. Hector E. Pagan became the eleventh commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command South (SOCSOUTH) - located on Homestead Air Reserve Base - during a change of command ceremony here July 18.

Navy Adm. James G. Stavridis, Commander of the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), presided over the ceremony where General Pagan assumed command and outgoing commander Brig. Gen. Charles T. Cleveland relinquished command in front of hundreds of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines and civilians. Thirty five flags representing the 35 nations south of the United States stood on the stage as a symbol of unity.

In his introductory remarks, the admiral welcomed all distinguished guests in attendance, praised General Pagan, and hailed the accomplishments achieved under the command of General Cleveland. Among the accomplishments mentioned were the increase of security along the borders of our partner nations; hosting the "Olympics" of special operations, known as "Fuerzas Comando," with 22 other nations; and multiple deployments to establish partnerships in Central and South America.

"Central and South America and the Caribbean is our neighborhood, many of us have years living or serving in the region, most speak the language, have friends, colleagues or even family from our partner nations," General Cleveland said.

"In short, we saw it as our obligation to offer up the unique Special Operations solutions required and to aggressively play our part in preventing another 9-11 in the U.S.," General Cleveland added.

General Cleveland took command of SOCSOUTH in early June of 2005 and will now go on to serve as the commander of Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT).

Before completing his farewell remarks, General Cleveland said the command team of Hector and Ellie Pagan are tailor made for the job at hand and the command is fortunate to have such a superb Special Forces warrior and leader.

"I feel like I'm right where I belong," General Pagan said as he opened his first speech as SOCSOUTH commander.

General Pagan was commissioned as an Infantry officer from the Army ROTC program at the University of Puerto Rico and arrives at SOCSOUTH after serving as deputy commander of the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg, N.C. 

"I'm proud to serve with you and be a part of this team," he said. "I will earn this honor every day I come to work." Pagan added.

(United States Special Operations Command South is a subordinate component for special operations under the U.S. Southern Command, which is headquartered in the City of Doral, Fla. SOCSOUTH's mission is to plan, prepare and when directed conduct special operations in support of U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) strategies, plans, and operations.)