FORT BRAGG. N.C. -The 8th Military Information Support Battalion (Airborne) welcomed its new commander in a change of command ceremony on Wednesday. The ceremony, conducted on Meadows Field at the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Headquarters, signified the transfer of authority and command between Lt. Col. (P) Victor G. Garcia and Lt. Col. Brendan J. Arcuri.
Lt. Col. (P) Garcia took command of the 8th MISB in May of 2011. At that time, he was charged with the monumental responsibility of commanding a unit responsible for all Military Information Support Operations in the CENTCOM area of responsibility. Shortly after taking command, Lt. Col. Garcia deployed to Qatar as the JISTF-SO (Joint Information Support Task Force) commander, simultaneously commanding the 8th MISB, responsible for the contingent of soldiers forward deployed to multiple embassy teams in theater and those stationed at FT Bragg, N.C.
While at the JISTF, Lt. Col. Garcia supported the SOCCENT commander, the 4th Military Information Support Group, and the Military Information Support Command as the MISO executive agent for CENTCOM and the subject matter expert concerning all Military Information Support Operations and partner nation efforts within Southwest Asia.
Upon returning to FT Bragg, Lt. Col. (P) Garcia was selected for promotion to Colonel and will attend the US Army War College in Carlisle, Pa. Lt. Col. Garcia’s unforeseen departure was a great loss to the aoldiers, NCOs, and Officers of 8th battalion. However, this loss set in motion the prospect for 8th battalion to gain a superior incoming commanding officer.
Lt. Col. Brendan J. Arcuri was selected above his peers to lead 8th battalion. He has been charged with the enormous responsibility of command; a command that encompasses assets and efforts spanning 3 continents, more than 20 countries, and more than 300 soldiers.
Col. Reginald J. Bostick, 4th Military Information Support Group (Airborne) commander, said: “We are thankful that Brendan was selected to take this unit. The Army could not have chosen a better leader to assume command of 8th battalion...His service and experience in the Army and Special Operations has positioned him to understand and appreciate the depth and breadth of responsibilities of this combat focused unit.”
Lt. Col. Arcuri has been in the Psychological Operations branch since 2001, following a very successful career as an Armor officer.
Lt. Col. Arcuri has served in many capacities within the Military Information Support Operations community to include: PSYOP Detachment commander, MIST OIC – U.S. Embassy, Kabul, Afghanistan, Battalion Executive Officer, and Chief of MISO for U.S. Army Special Operation Command – Pacific, Camp Smith, Hawaii.
The change of command ceremony symbolizes an officer relinquishing command to another. The tradition harkens back to similar ceremonies which predate the Norman conquest of England and are a formal symbolic passing of responsibility from one leader to another. The ceremony ensures that the soldiers will never be void of an official leader.
For the soldiers of 8th battalion, this ceremony bridges the gap between two different, yet exceptional leaders. For one, the ceremony embodies a bittersweet farewell, looking back at the success of his mission with the battalion. For the other, it encompasses the new challenge he has fully and wholeheartedly accepted, the challenge of leading 8th battalion in future operations in one of the most inhospitable regions on earth.
Col. Bostick’s closing remarks demonstrated the relentless efforts of Lt. Col Garcia and the total confidence in Lt. Col. Arcuri’s leadership: “You lived the way of the samurai. Your sword remained sharp, your weapon always clean. Never once did you show a sign of weakness. You are a warrior; through and through… I am collectively confident that this unit is in very good hands.”
Story by Cpt. Mark Natale