V Corps strengthens bond between US, Poland during welcome ceremony

The Victory Corps commanding general, Lt. Gen. Kolasheski (middle), is flanked by newly arrived deputy commanding general of interoperability, Polish Maj. Gen. Adam Joks (left), and newly arrived deputy commanding general of maneuver, Brig. Gen. Matthew Van Wagenen (right). The V Corps welcomed Maj. Gen. Joks and Brig. Gen. Van Wagenen to the V Corps team during a ceremony at Fort Knox, Aug. 4. Photos by Charles Leffler

FORT KNOX, KY. — The U.S. Army’s Fifth Corps held a welcome ceremony for Maj. Gen. Adam Joks, Deputy Commanding General of Interoperability, and Brig. Gen. Matthew Van Wagenen, Deputy Commanding General of Maneuver, at Fort Knox, Kentucky, Aug. 4.

The ceremony consisted of a color guard led by Staff Sgt. Amber Ravenall, the I Corps Army Band, as well as the 3rd Cavalry Regiment Firing Battery. Lt. Gen. John Kolasheski, V Corps commanding general, gave the opening remarks and welcomed Van Wagenen, Joks, and family to V Corps.

“Today is an important milestone for this headquarters, but it is also an important day for the United States and Poland,” said Kolasheski. “Today marks the first time since the Revolutionary War that a very senior Polish officer has been assigned to a U.S. military outfit.”

Joks, a graduate of the National Defense Academy in Warsaw, Poland, is coming to V Corps after commanding NATO’s Joint Force Training Centre, Bydgoszcz, Poland. As DCG-I, he will focus on improving the integration of personnel, systems, and processes with European allies and partners.

During the ceremony, Joks spoke on his responsibilities to V Corps and bolstering the U.S.-Polish relationship.

“As Deputy Commander for Interoperability, we will make the Victory Corps more interoperable with NATO, and ensure integration with Poland’s armed forces hosting the Victory Corps forward headquarters,” said Maj. Gen. Joks. “Promoting interoperability is a central point in the Victory Corps’ mission statement and I am committed to helping the commander and the corps team make that happen. As the Victory Corps motto states: ‘It Will Be Done!’”

Newly arrived V Corps Deputy Commanding General of Maneuver, Brig. Gen. Matthew Van Wagenen, speaks about joining the Victory Corps team with Polish Maj. Gen. Adam Joks, incoming Deputy Commanding General of Interoperability, during a welcome ceremony. The V Corps welcomed Joks and Van Wagenen to the V Corps team during the ceremony Aug. 4, at Fort Knox.

Gen. Christopher G. Cavoli, U.S. Army Europe and Africa commanding general, is confident Joks’ presence will strengthen the bond shared by the U.S. and Poland.

“Welcoming Maj. Gen. Joks as part of the V Corps team is a true testament to the trust and bond shared by the U.S. and Poland, not only as NATO allies in deterring aggression in the region, but also as friends and host to our U.S. Soldiers who rotate through Poland as part of Atlantic Resolve and the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence,” said Cavoli. “We continue to work with our Polish allies to find new ways to strengthen U.S.-Polish defense relations, NATO unity and transatlantic security.”

Although Van Wagenen has officially been a part of V Corps since May, V Corps officially welcomed him as Deputy Commanding General for Maneuver during the ceremony.

“It speaks volumes to his humble character and team spirit that he got to work immediately with no formalities or ceremony,” said Lt. Gen. Kolasheski. “Those qualities are essential for a DCG.”

Van Wagenen will serve as the senior officer at the headquarters in Poznan, Poland. He joins V Corps after his previous assignments as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations at the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, and the deputy commanding general for the 3rd (United Kingdom) Division.

Van Wagenen said he is honored to be a part of V Corps and is excited to see where the Corps is going in the future.

“It is truly an honor to stand before you today as a deputy commanding general in this remarkable organization and a privilege to stand alongside my friend, Major General Adam Joks,” said Van Wagenen. “Additionally, his role here at our main command post and mine in Poznan, Poland, at our forward command post exemplifies the special relationship that exists between Poland and the United States as friends and allies.”

Cavoli echoed the sentiments of Van Wagenen.

“With Maj. Gen. Joks joining the V Corps team as the DCG-I and Brig. Gen. Van Wagenen joining the forward operating base in Poznan as the DCG-M,” said Cavoli, “I’m certain our two nations will move toward a deeper and even more collaborative security partnership to meet current and future security challenges.”