News: 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team change of command
Story by Staff Sgt. Kenneth Hatten
CAMP SHELBY, Miss. - Soldiers of the Mississippi Army National Guard's 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team assembled on the parade field at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center June 28 to honor the outgoing commander Col. John M. Rhodes, of Corinth, and to welcome the incoming commander, Col. Jeffrey P. Van, of McComb.
“Today is a significant day in the history of this brigade,” said Mississippi Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Augustus L. Collins. “Today, command, authority and responsibility is being passed between two officers who have a long and storied history with the brigade.”
The change of command was symbolized by the traditional passing of the brigade colors from Col. Rhodes to Maj. Gen. Collins, who then passed the colors to Col. Van, the incoming commander.
After the change of command ceremony, Rhodes addressed the brigade and welcomed Van to his new position as commander of Mississippi’s largest combat unit.
“Serving as the commander of the 155th has been the highlight of my military career,” said Rhodes. “I have been a part of this formation since 1991. I wear the “Dixie Thunder” patch with great pride, and I have never had a desire to serve anywhere else because of you.”
Rhodes continued, saying that the “Dixie Thunder” torch had been passed to a proven leader whose vision and experience made him the right person for command of the brigade.
“He is more than ready and fully qualified to lead this proud brigade through the upcoming challenges,” said Rhodes. “I am proud to have served as your commander; I thank you for your dedicated service and look forward to our continued service together in the Mississippi Army National Guard. Dixie Thunder always!”
The incoming brigade commander, Col. Van, taking note of the increasing heat of the day, advised the troops of the brigade to drink water before delivering his remarks to the assembled soldiers, distinguished guests and Family members.
“The highest honor anyone can bestow a leader is the privilege to command troops and patriots in a Combat Arms brigade,” said Van. “I thank you for providing me that opportunity. Our mission, intent and scheme of maneuver for moving forward, improving personnel and collective readiness is clear: We’ll continue to build on the efforts and service of those who have preceded us, and this command will set high, positive conditions for those who follow us.”
Van said that he looked forward to working with the soldiers, NCO’s and Officers of the 155th develop the Armored Brigade Combat Team into a more lethal, professional, doctrinal and digital fighting force capable of achieving any combat or civil support mission assigned to them in any theater of operations.
“Again, I would like to state my pride in being the commander of the 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team,” said Van. “I look forward to the exciting and challenging opportunities that await us. May God bless all of you. May God bless and keep safe those currently serving in harm’s way and may God continue to bless the United States of America.”