News: 3rd Special Forces Group welcomes a new commander
Story by Staff Sgt. Marcus Butler
FORT BRAGG, N.C. – Soldiers, family and friends of 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) took part in a change of command ceremony, July 13, at Meadows Field Memorial Plaza on Fort Bragg, N.C., during which Col. Mark C. Schwartz relinquished command of the group to Col. Patrick B. Roberson.
Presiding over the ceremony was Maj. Gen. Edward M. Reeder, Jr., commanding general of U.S. Army Special Forces Command (Airborne). In his remarks Reeder highlighted the accomplishments of 3rd SFG (A) under the command of Schwartz.
"The brave and courageous soldiers of the 3rd Special Forces Group, under the leadership of Col. Mark Schwartz, have risen to meet the challenges of our time, fighting tyranny and terror and seeing the blessings of freedom and prosperity for a new generation emerge from the depths of the oppressed," said Reeder.
Schwartz echoed the sentiment, praising the soldiers standing in formation.
"Today is unequivocally about the monumental accomplishments, service, and sacrifice of the more than 2,300 soldiers and civilians assigned to our group," said Schwartz. "Every guidon you see in front of you has deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq the past two years."
Since the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom, members of 3rd SFG (A) have received recognition for their heroism. The Valor awards include: 239 Bronze Star Medals with "V" Devices, 56 Silver Stars, two Distinguished Service Crosses, and one Medal of Honor awarded posthumously to Staff Sgt. Robert Miller in 2010.
Reeder also welcomed the new command team of Roberson and his family to the 3rd SFG (A) and wished them the best in the upcoming years.
"We have great expectations and look forward to yet another great command team," said Reeder. "I have no doubt you will command this group to continued success and future achievements. Your exemplary service to the Regiment marked you as the right officer at the right time to command this magnificent group," added Reeder.
Schwartz summed up the time he spent as commander of 3rd SFG (A) as the best of his career.
"The past two years have truly been the highlight of my professional military career," said Schwartz. "There has been no greater honor for me personally or professionally than serving with you and being your commander in combat."
Schwartz not only thanked the soldiers under his command, but also recognized the leaders and family members that helped guide the group in the right direction while in combat as well as on the home front.
"The soldiers of 3rd Group and the service members assigned to the CJSOTF-A have benefited from a chain of command both here at Fort Bragg and in Afghanistan whose priority has been doing all that is necessary to achieve decisive victory in combat," said Schwartz. "Your accomplishments are countless but you would not have been able to properly prepare or excel in combat without the exceptional support of your families. I want to personally thank you families for their support over the past two years."
"You have continued to serve with honor and answer the call of your Regiment because of your fundamental belief in the mission, the values of our Army and the personal calling to serve your country at a time of war at any cost," said Schwartz. "Although it was extremely difficult passing the 3rd Group colors… this is still a great day because today I had the final honor of waking up as your commander."