USAG Rheinland-Pfalz welcomes new commander

Tommy Mize, IMCOM-E director, center, stands with Col. Jason Edwards, outgoing USAG Rheinland-Pfalz commander, left, and Col. Vance Klosinski, new USAG Rheinland-Pfalz commander during the national anthem before the change of command ceremony July 22 in Kaiserslautern. Photos by Elisabeth Paque

The Army’s garrison serving as the United States’ premier strategic readiness platform in Europe has a new commander overseeing its diverse area of responsibility.

Col. Vance J. Klosinski assumed command of U.S. Army Garrison Rhein­land-Pfalz in a ceremony here July 22. Klosinski accepted the garrison colors from Tommy Mize, the Installation Man­age­­­ment Com­mand -Europe di­rec­tor. Outgoing Com­mander Col. Jason T. Edwards relinquished the organizational flag to Mize before the ceremonial event.

He takes over an organization that supports a military and civilian workforce of approximately 16,000 people and a total population of about 40,000 Army Soldiers, civilians, and family members. The garrison’s footprint stretches across 31 sites from Baumholder to Mannheim and from Gruenstadt to Germersheim in Germany. Also, the garrison recently took responsibility for sites in Bulgaria and Romania.

The USAG Rheinland-Pfalz Change of Command ceremony was held in front of a much smaller crowd than normal due to COVID-19 restrictions. The event was broadcast live on garrison social media pages July 22.

Mize praised Edwards’s all-hands focus to ensure the sustainment, safety, and security of the Rheinland-Pfalz community. Mize said the colonel’s work via aggressive and relentless force-protection efforts and his strategic, long-term infrastructure improvement effort across the organization made the difference.

“To simply say Jay Edwards successfully commanded this garrison would be a gross understatement,” Mize said. “It takes a remarkably capable, mature, and talented leader to successfully command this complex garrison. Fortunately, that’s exactly what we’ve had the past two years.”

Edwards, in turn, gave credit to those who served under his command.

“Even as a human resources officer, I will never look at customer service the same,” Edwards said. “I see the daily commitment of the workforce. A senior mentor asked me what the biggest surprise of this command was and, without hesitation, I said the people — our workforce.”

Col. Vance Klosinski, left, accepts the USAG Rheinland-Pfalz unit flag from Tommy Mize, Installation Management Command-Europe director, and officially takes command of the garrison in a ceremony July 22 in Kaiserslautern.

While lauding his garrison team, Edwards — who is moving on to a job in the Pentagon — also recognized the continued support of Host-Nation allies. They include ministry officials, local officials, “blue light first responders,” and the Bundeswehr. He thanked them all for their selfless service.

“I will miss our host nation partners. The state, county, union, and city mayors have been incredible. I wish our host nation partners could be here in person, but I want them to know how very grateful I am to have spent the last two years (working) with (them),” he said.

Klosinski arrives here from an assignment with the United States Special Operations Command Interagency Partnership Program in the National Capital Region, Washington. D.C. A native of Stevens Point, Wisconsin, Klosinski began his diverse military career as an infantry platoon leader with the 10th Mountain Division. Upon completing his infantry assignments, Klosinski changed career paths, graduating from the Special Forces Qualification Course at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Col. Jason Edwards, former USAG Rheinland-Pfalz commander, right, hands the garrison colors to Tommy Mize, Installation Management Command-Europe director, during the change of command ceremony July 22 in Kaiserslautern. Photo by Elisabeth Paque (Photo Credit: U.S. Army)

Klosinski holds a bachelor’s degree in political science/public administration from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and a master’s degree in defense analysis from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. He recently graduated from the National War College in Washington, D.C., with a master of science in national security strategy.

“In the short time I’ve been here, I’ve learned three things: One, Col. Jay Edwards has been an exceptional garrison commander. Two: This garrison is filled with dedicated Army professionals who are experts in their respective fields. And finally, I have learned that I have a lot more to learn about the garrison business.”

“I come here ready to lead, and I promise to do so with open ears and an open mind.”