News: Provincial Reconstruction Team Ghazni gets new commander
Story by Staff Sgt. April Quintanilla
FORWARD OPERATING BASE GHAZNI, Afghanistan - Command of Provincial Reconstruction Team Ghazni changed hands from Commander Tristan Rizzi to Commander Brian O’lavin during a ceremony on Forward Operating Base Ghazni, March 7. Coalition forces assigned to PRT Ghazni and personnel from Task Force White Eagle attended the ceremony.
“As we move ahead, we look forward to working with our Polish and Afghan partners,” said O’Lavin. “I am humbled by the responsibility placed on me to command the outstanding warriors of PRT Ghazni.”
During the ceremony, Polish Brig. Gen. Pitor Blazeusz gave a short speech welcoming O’Lavin and handing out farewell gifts to the outgoing PRT leadership.
“I would like to take a moment to recognize the accomplishments of Rizzi,” said O’Lavin. “Under his leadership, PRT Ghazni visited 16 of the 19 districts in the province. He established Detachment Warrior, whose mentorship is helping the Gelan and Moqur districts turn the corner towards effective government and development.”
U.S. Army Col. Robert D. Gaudsmith, Texas Agribusiness Development Team 5, also shared some inspirational words of wisdom with the new PRT leadership and members. The Texas ADT was recently deactivated and the members, with the exception of a few, will be returning to their home station.
“This has been a very special assignment,” said Gaudsmith. “The people of Ghazni have opened their arms to the Texas ADT and we have worked hard, shoulder to shoulder, to build a better place for the next generation of Afghanistan.”
During the ceremony, Gaudsmith rolled up and cased his command’s flag for the last time.
Gaudsmith concluded with “Leaving early gives me the feeling of leaving a job half done with respect to the budget process, and, no commander likes to leave any of his soldiers behind, regardless of the confidence I have in the new PRT leadership in caring for my Agribusiness Expert Team.”
With the Texas ADT heading home it now falls to O’lavin and PRT Ghazni to continue to build on the accomplishments in the province.