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NEWS | July 11, 2018

Case assumes command of the 209th Digital Liaison Detachment

By Sgt. Daniel Friedberg 7th Mission Support Command

U.S. Army Col. Stephen P. Case assumed command of the 7th Mission Support Command's 209th Digital Liaison Detachment in a ceremony held at McCully Barracks on July 7, 2018.

The Deputy Commanding Officer of the 7th MSC, Col. Alex M. Wells, was key note speaker to an audience and attendees that included the Honorable Sybille Vogt, mayor of Wackernheim, the Soldiers of the 209th DLD, the unit´s outgoing commander Col. John E. Dethlefs, as well as family members and guests of the unit.

Wells reminded the audience that the United States had just celebrated its 242nd anniversary and continued to prosper under the partnered peace won in large part through the continued sacrifices of the men and women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

“Even now our military continues to serve in harm´s way in foreign lands to insure peace for our Nation.”

Wells made the case that security for the U.S. homeland was directly tied to the skillsets of specialized units like the 209th DLD, working with NATO allies to insure that its forces can operate seamlessly with the U.S. Military.

“We have a unique position here in Europe,” said Wells, of the only U.S. Army Reserve command on the continent.

“This partnership has served both Germany and our Nation for many years by working together. As Army Reserve Soldiers we have become part of their community,” he added.

Wells revealed that the lessons learned by the 209th DLD in exercises with NATO coalition military was embraced by the Mission Command Center of Excellence at Ft. Leavenworth for future force improvements for both Active and Reserve DLD units. 

Wells then explained that Dethlefs and the 209th DLD seized the opportunity to help build doctrine from the challenges of working with multiple coalition partners.

“I am not familiar with any other (U.S. Army) Reserve organization which has interacted with so many foreign military,” said Wells.

“John, with all you have done, what stands out the most is the outstanding performance by your Soldiers,” said Wells to Dethlefs. 

Wells finished his speech by welcoming Case, and saying that the new commander was uniquely experienced.

“Your leadership assignments and experience in logistics operations planning and joint exercise support make you the perfect leader to take over,” said Wells.

As the outgoing commander, Dethlefs thanked both his Soldiers and his family for their support throughout his command of the unit since 2016.

Dethlefs briefly switched to German to personally thank Mayor Vogt for the continued hospitality and friendliness shown by the government and citizens of Wackernheim.

To Soldiers of the 209th present in ranks, Dethlefs said he was honored to have been counted as one of their members.

“You poured out a lot of sweat becoming better, and it shows,” he said.

In his inaugural speech, Case underscored the continued importance of the 209th´s mission of incorporating allied and coalition forces with U.S. military units, and emphasized the necessity of trust between U.S. and partnering militaries

“The President of the United States and the Secretary of Defense have called it a priority to integrate with our coalition partners,” Case said.

“Not many units can say that their purpose is tied directly back to the national security strategy,” he added.

Case finished by making it clear to his Soldiers that he was charged to make his Soldiers ready in the event of combat.

“You are one of the most forward deployed units, with a real threat on its flank,” said Case.

“As I take the torch, I want to dedicate myself to preparing you to succeed not only in peacetime but in war,” he said. 

“I look forward to working with all of you. Live free.”