361st CA Bde. gets new commander

by Master Sgt. Gloria ColonBuzatu
361st Civil Affairs Brigade

A bright, sunny day provided a perfect setting for the change of command ceremony for U.S. Army Europe’s only civil affairs brigade June 5 at NCO Field on Daenner Kaserne in Kaiserslautern. 

Col. Robert W. LeValley assumed command from Col. Friedbert J. Humphrey. Soldiers travelled as far as Vicenza, Italy, to see the ceremony and support the brigade. 

The 361st CA Bde. is the first civil military operation asset in U.S. Army Europe that also supports the 21st Theater Sustainment Command’s and the 7th Civil Support Command’s missions. Civil military operations activities include partnering with the host nation and foreign publics in peacetime to improve services or, in the case of combat operations, to help a nation rebuild after a conflict.

Maj. Gen. Patricia E. McQuistion, commanding general of the 21st TSC, Maj. Gen. David S. Elmo, the USAREUR deputy chief of staff for mobilization and Reserve affairs, along with leaders and primary staff officers of the 7th CSC, attended the ceremony.

Brig. Gen. Jimmy Jay Wells, commanding general of the 7th CSC, presided over the ceremony in the traditional passing of the unit colors in front of the troops of the 457th CA Battalion and the 361st CA Bde. Headquarters and Headquarters Company.

During the past two years, from the forming and then activation of the brigade in September 2010, the brigade has grown from a staff of less than 15 Soldiers to more than 200 today. These Soldiers travel from four continents besides the U.S. — Italy, Nigeria, Spain and  Kazakhstan — to train here, General Wells said.
He commended Colonel Humphrey’s training programs that cultivated dedication and sacrifice.

“The readiness and the level of linguistically capable Soldiers of the 361st have been substantial. There are 15 different languages spoken to Defense Language Institute standards and … this unit is one of the best in the Army Reserves,” General Wells said.

In his farewell speech, Colonel Humphrey attributed his success to the Soldiers’ diversity and commitment to serve and their commitment to live up to the brigade’s motto of “Keep the Peace.”

Colonel Humphrey’s next assignment is the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Monroe, Va. 

In Colonel LeValley’s brief address to the troops, he affirmed that the brigade was ready to integrate into the next phase of training. Colonel LeValley comes to the brigade from the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg, N.C., as the senior Army Reserve adviser. 

“We will be transforming from individual training … to training for possible deployment when the Army calls,” he said. “Our future holds bright and great things for us.”

Colonel LeValley reminded the troops that education and training will remain a priority.

“I’ll assure that you have every opportunity to be trained and educated in your craft,” he said. 

The colonel also pledged his commitment to support the Soldiers and their families.
“Without you or your families, we would not be able to do what we do,” he said.