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    ‘Gator Brigade’ welcomes new commander

    ‘Gator Brigade’ welcomes new commander

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Aidana Baez | The 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team said farewell to Col. Ralph Ribas during a...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Aidana Baez 

    53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team

    PINELLAS PARK, Fla. – Soldiers of 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team welcomed Col. John D. Haas and bid farewell to Col. Ralph A. Ribas during a change of command ceremony at the C.W. Bill Young Armed Forces Reserve Center in Pinellas Park, Fla. on Feb. 6, 2016.

    The Adjutant General of Florida, Maj. Gen. Michael A. Calhoun announced HAAS’ selection last month.

    “John has extensive operational experience both overseas and here in Florida,” said Calhoun in a message to the Florida National Guard announcing Haas’ selection. “His numerous command and staff assignments in the 53d BCT both here and in Theater make him uniquely qualified to command our largest major command.”

    Prior to his appointment as the commander of the 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Haas served as the Director of the Operations and Ribas was selected to serve as the Director of the Joint Staff.

    “Ralph, congratulations on a truly wonderful command, you leave a legacy of superior leadership and unmatched performance, which has, and will continue to serve the brigade well,” said Haas to Ribas during the ceremony.

    Haas and Ribas addressed the Soldiers of the 53rd IBCT and spoke to their accomplishments.

    “To the Soldiers of the Gator Brigade, your colors and their many streamers bear truth to the greatness of the organization,” said Haas during the ceremony.

    “Changes of command are more about continuity than change; of course, commanders rotate in and out, but the formation, you the Soldiers, who through countless state activations and numerous deployments are what keep the organization strong,” Ribas told the Soldiers of the Gator Brigade during the ceremony.

    Haas assumes command of the 53rd IBCT during a time when the operational tempo of the organization is the highest it has been since 2010, when the entire 53rd IBCT was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn.

    “With one battalion currently deployed, one preparing for deployment and a Task Force of several teams preparing for the Regionally Aligned Forces exchanges in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, the Soldiers of the brigade are making their mark in our nation’s history,” said Calhoun.

    Haas, who is no stranger to the rigorous training schedule of Gator Brigade, as he has served in all levels of leadership within the organization, gleamed as he confessed assuming command of the 53rd IBCT is a dream come true.

    “As Soldiers know best, it’s an honor to serve, a privilege to lead, and for me, to command the 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team a dream realized,” said Haas.



    Date Taken: 02.10.2016
    Date Posted: 02.10.2016 10:37
    Story ID: 188467
    Location: PINELLAS PARK, FL, US 

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