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New commander takes reigns of Joint Task Force-Bravo

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shaun Emery
  • Joint Task Force-Bravo public affairs
Joint Task Force-Bravo held here its change of command ceremony June 27, welcoming its newest commanding officer.

Army Col. Marcus DeOliveira assumed command from Army Col. Christopher Hughes during the ceremony at the Soto Cano Air Base fire station.

Navy Adm. James Stavridis, U.S. Southern Command commander, was the officiating officer at the ceremony. Addressing the crowd, Admiral Stavridis reflected on the accomplishments of JTF-Bravo over the past year.

"The SOUTHCOM motto is 'a partnership for the Americas'", he said. "The members of JTF-B are the perfect example of this. They are meeting the challenge whether it's real world missions, exercises, medical evacuations or humanitarian and disaster relief."

The new JTF-B commander, Colonel DeOliveira, arrived from Fort Polk, La., where he served as the senior officer in charge for Task Force 3 at the Joint Readiness Training Center.

"I look forward to serving alongside U.S. servicemembers and civilians as well as our military and civilian partners in Central America to help bring stability, security and prosperity to the region," said Colonel DeOliveira. "What this joint task force has done best in the past 24 years is establish enduring relationships that come to bear when people have to come together to help each other."

In the few days he's been on station, Colonel DeOliveira has had a chance to meet with those men and woman and his first impressions are very positive.

"The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and civilians are very professional and proud of what they do for the United States and the region," he said. "This JTF has a proud legacy that continues with the current personnel assigned."

Colonel DeOliveira received his commission through the University of Florida where he earned his bachelor's degree in Political Science He received a master's degree in International Studies from Louisiana State University.

Colonel DeOliveira's awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary and Service Medals, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Expert Infantry Badge, Basic Airborne Badge, Air Assault Badge and Rand Ranger Tab.

Colonel Hughes departs Soto Cano AB and is being assigned to the Pentagon in Washington D.C. where he will work in legislative affairs. 

Colonel Hughes said he could think of no one better to take over the command of JTF-Bravo. 

"In combat, I entrusted him with my life and the lives of my soldiers," he said. "He always watched my back. He is a tried and true leader." 

Colonel DeOliveira praised the outgoing commander on his accomplishments and said he hoped to continue where Colonel Hughes left off.

"We don't see there will be major changes," the colonel said during a press conference following the change of command ceremony.

"We will continue building relationships we've had in the past," he said. "This is the most important thing if something wrong happens in Central America. Those relationships we build are important to help the people of this region."