Today, in an outdoor ceremony presided over by General Philip M. Breedlove, Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), General Hans-Lothar Domröse handed command of JFC Brunssum to his successor, General Salvatore Farina in ‘infantry weather’. More than 200 dignitaries and guests representing the NATO Command Chain, European capitals, the Host Nation, North America, National and International Organizations gathered to mark the event.
In a moving speech General Domröse emphasized his primary focus throughout his time in command has been Afghanistan; a mission that will continue to be a priority for the HQs. Turning to the NATO Response Force the General highlighted the excellent progress that has been made since the Alliance’s 2014 Wales Summit with tasking relating to NATO’s Readiness Action Plan. ‘Multinational Corps Northeast and the newly established NATO Force Integration Units are well on track to meeting the required level of ambition and through a series of exercises in April and May 2016 we will have demonstrated a Very High Readiness Joint Task Force that is established, trained, exercised and useable’, he stated. Further in his remarks General Domröse said he was very pleased with the progress of Regional Focus initiatives i.e. activities designed to better connect NATO and non-NATO operational-level military HQs in northern Europe.
Looking back to 2015 General Domröse said how pleased he was at the success of Exercise Trident Juncture. The largest NATO exercise in over a decade, Trident Juncture 2015 hosted by Italy, Spain and Portugal between the end of September and early November, saw circa 36000 troops from 27 NATO nations and five partner nations taking part. ‘This was an enormous challenge, but it showcased NATO at its very best and demonstrated to the world that NATO is here and is capable’.
SACEUR, in his remarks, praised General Domröse for his ‘energy, enthusiasm, determination and passion’ describing him as a ‘force of nature’. General Breedlove went on to welcome General Farina as the new JFC Brunssum Commander stating he is ‘very much the right man for the job as, amongst other achievements, is demonstrated by his magnificent leadership of KFOR’.
In a post change-of-command ceremony reception the Dutch Chief of Defence Staff, General Tom Middendorp, awarded General Domröse his nation’s Medal of Merit (In Gold). Finally, the Brunssum Mayor, Mayor Luc Winants, took the opportunity to thank the General for his ‘deep commitment to Brunssum’ and awarded him a departure gift on behalf of the town.
Music for today’s ceremony was performed by the Heeresmusikkorps from Koblenz, Germany. The Guard was provided by the Wachbataillon beim Bundesministerium der Verteidigung from Berlin, Germany. Also on parade were the Flag Party from Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum.
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Audio Files can be found here