Brunssum, the Netherlands – Today, General Riccardo Marchiò, Commander Joint Force Command Brunssum, formally addressed the staff before handing over his command to General Erhard Bühler on Friday 31 May. In a passionate and heartfelt speech the General said his departure was both bitter and sweet; bitter because it marks the end of his 45-year military career; and sweet as retirement will allow him more time to spend with his family.
General Marchiò praised the staff for their dedication and hard work throughout a period of sustained high tempo as NATO adjusts to counter emerging threats in an ever-changing security environment. Significantly in his remarks, the General underlined that the progress made over the past fifteen months was the result of a joint effort involving the Command Group and staff working in harmony. He invited the staff to continue in this way under the leadership of their new commander. In drawing to a close the General said: 'It has been the honour of my life to serve as your Commander.'
Lieutenant General Stuart Skeates, CBE, Deputy Commander Joint Force Command Brunssum, replied on behalf of the headquarters. In his speech General Skeates thanked General Marchiò for his outstanding leadership, selfless approach and good humour. The Deputy Commander went on to provide a snapshot of General Marchiò's remarkable career, his many achievements, and wished him a long and happy retirement with his wife, children and grand-children.
On completion of speeches the event included an awards ceremony.
The NATO Meritorious Service Medal was introduced in 2003 to commend NATO staff whose personal initiative and dedication exceeds their duties and has made a difference both to their colleagues and the Alliance. The medal is the personal award of the Secretary General, who signs each citation. Two members of JFC Brunssum were presented with this special award by General Marchiò today: Colonel Lasse Christiansen and Lieutenant Colonel Geoffrey McCarthy.
Commanders' Commendations were awarded to: Chief Petty Officer Jamie Blanco, Warrant Officer Agostino Bono, Squadron Leader Ian Caskie, Wing Commander Michael Dutton, Lieutenant Commander Simon Horton, Commander Meinrad Lorenz, Lieutenant Colonel Petre Georgel Luca, Warrant Officer Manuel Molina, Lieutenant Colonel Marcus Mueller, Lieutenant Colonel Peter Philippe, Lieutenant Colonel Harald Pliske, Major Edith Smith, Lieutenant Colonel Vebjorn Utnes and Warrant Officer Johnny Vandersmissen. The following were also awarded Commanders' Commendations but were unable to attend: Major Patrizio Cambiotti, Lieutenant Colonel Jurjen Haan, Lieutenant Colonel Eleanor Haevens and Wing Commander Crawford Kirkhope.
Story by JFC Brunssum Public Affairs Office