CAMP LEATHERNECK, AFGHANISTAN
CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan – Command of Regional Support Command Southwest passed from an Army colonel to a Marine colonel during a change of command ceremony here June 5.
Army Col. Matt Redding passed the blue-colored RSC-SW flag to Marine Col. Scott Arnold during the ceremony attended by leadership and senior non-commissioned officers from Regional Command Southwest, NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan, and other Regional Support Commands.
"Afghanistan's future is bright because of the professionalism of the Afghan National Security Forces that have the capacity and will to defeat the insurgency,” Redding said. "The people of Afghanistan are seeing that capability each day in the Afghan forces that are trained and sustained by the regional training and logistics organizations here. Their units are building a credible logistics system that is beginning to function at the regional level.”
"Last year when Redding took command the Regional Military Training Center Southwest had two Recruit Basic Warrior Training classes on going, the course instructors did not do any independent training,” said Deputy Commander of Support Operations, Brig. Gen. Clark W. LeMasters. "The RMTC is now running nine courses and is slated for transition in February 2013.”
The infrastructure at the Lashkar Gah Training Center was also improved under Redding's watch. He found a containerized kitchen in Qatar for the staff, worked with the British Army on supplies and established a small post exchange for the service members and contractors.
Redding and the RSC-SW staff worked six months to donate medical supplies from the Foreign Excess Personnel Property program to the Afghan National Security Forces last month to support their Operation Naweed spring offensive.
More than 11,000 new ANA soldiers and ANP officers have graduated from RMTC-SW and LTC in the last year. Large strides have been made in professionalizing the ANSF by delivering vehicles, weapons and rounds of ammunition to the police and army.
Arnold, a member of the Afghanistan-Hands Program, "Scott, you have the colors and you have a great team. Your target set will be similar but as I told you last night it's going to change, be prepared,” LeMasters said. "Your leadership and unique experiences will take this RSC through the next year as we transition, focus on transition, continue the incredible relationships with your battle space owner and your Afghan partners, look for opportunities where are partners are ready and accelerate the transition process.”
During his speech Arnold said he knew there will be great challenges ahead. "But there are also going to be great opportunities,” he noted.
Arnold, a former EA-6B Prowler pilot, said he was looking forward to working the team Redding built, the "coalition war fighters with RSC-SW” that will attack those challenges head on and capitalize on those opportunities and build on the previous command's foundations, and setting the conditions for ANSF to support and sustain themselves.
In the last part of his speech Arnold spoke in Dari to the Afghan officers there for the ceremony.
"Thanks to my Afghan friends,” said Arnold, a former member of the Afghan Hands program. "I'm very surprised to be here with you. We will work should by shoulder, and we will succeed.”
For his time as commander, Redding received the Bronze Star Medal, Afghan Campaign Medal and NATO Medal.
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This work, Col. Scott Arnold takes command of RSC-SW, by Bill Putnam, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.