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Team Iguana Welcomes New Commander

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Benson McCallister
  • 429th Expeditionary Operations Squadron
Lt. Col. Brian Bell took the reins of the 429th Expeditionary Operations Squadron (429th EOS) from Lt. Col. Michael Price during a Change of Command ceremony June 17 at Forward Operating Location (FOL) Curacao.

Traditionally the location for the unit's Change of Command ceremony has been held inside the FOL's hangar which displays as its center piece an oversized American flag measuring 60 feet in length by 30 feet in width.

Local and foreign dignitaries, military leaders, diplomats from the Caribbean and deployed personnel from various bases and services gathered for a ceremony honoring the 429th EOS Commander. They recognized Colonel Price's many accomplishments and welcomed the unit's new commander, Colonel Brian Bell, who prior to assuming command of the 429th EOS was Commander, 36th Rescue Flight, Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash.

Colonel Price bid an emotional farewell to the squadron he so enthusiastically led. During that time, his squadron and the deployed units it hosted captured or interrupted over 2 billion dollars in illegal narcotics. Col. WM Bruce Danskine, the change of command's presiding officer and commander, 474th Air Expeditionary Group, characterized the unit's accomplishments as "simply outstanding."

Though the island of Curacao is only 171 square miles, the tactical benefits of its location make it "key in counterdrug efforts," explained Colonel Price. "Its location is ideal for an interdiction mission, and we have relied heavily on our international partners over the past 12 months."

Deployed Air Expeditionary Force personnel at FOL Curacao play a crucial role in the daily mission of the 429th EOS. Security Forces from bases throughout the states as well as aviators from the HC-130, E-3, and deployed KC-135 units performed vital roles in the Change of Command ceremony ensuring its flawless execution.

Colonel Bell is looking forward to his leadership role as the FOL's newest Commander. He commented, "I am truly honored to take the torch of the 429th EOS. This is a unit that is not only storied in its brief existence, but also well led and is proven in its superb contribution to counter-drug operations throughout the SOUTHCOM AOR."

His optimism was shared by Colonel Danskine after the ceremony. "I have seen and been an active participant in numerous Change of Command ceremonies over the years and I must say this was by far one of the best executed ceremonies I have ever seen. If today's ceremony is any indication of how the unit's mission will proceed over the next 12 months, I expect the results to be outstanding."