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NEWS | Aug. 17, 2019

2500th DLD commander embodies Soldier first mentality

By Capt. Desiree 2500th Digital Liaison Detachment

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — After a week of ranges and training at Grafenwoehr Training Area, Soldiers with the 2500th Digital Liaison Detachment said farewell to one commander and welcomed another during a change of command ceremony Aug. 17, here, at Camp Normandy. 

“It seems like change of command ceremonies are all about the commanders,” said outgoing commander Col. Christopher Varhola. “I thought as part of our change of command ceremony, we had to give the awards to the people who made this stuff happen.”

The Soldiers started the day by running through the Camp Normandy obstacle course, and then formed up for an awards and promotion ceremony followed by the change of command.

Capt. Michael Benjamin, Master Sgt. Carlos Garcia, Sgt. 1st Class David Albert and Staff Sgt. Ladislav Pecsuk received Army Commendation Medals. Staff Sgt. Kristopher Copple and Sgt. Wesley Cyrus received Army Achievement Medals. 

As one of his final acts as the 2500th DLD commander, Varhola also promoted Capt. Roy Reynolds to the rank of major.

After three years in the position, Varhola relinquished command of the 2500th DLD to Col. Gregory Gimenez at a ceremony that emphasized the individual Soldiers who make up the unit.

Even though the ceremony focused on the individual Soldiers who make up the unit, Varhola was also recognized for his service. Brig. Gen. Michael T. Harvey, commanding general of the 7th Mission Support Command, presented Varhola with a Meritorious Service Medal before presiding over the passing of the unit’s guidon.

“Command is the greatest privilege the Army could ever bestow upon us as Soldiers,” said Harvey.

“Chris — good job, well done, good and faithful servant. Thank you for your years of dedicated service to our nation,” he added. 

Varhola will retire in November after almost 30 years of service in the U.S. Army, both active duty and reserve. 

“Sounds cliché, but if you are looking for rewards and you care about colorful pieces of cloth and little pieces of tin, then you are in the wrong business,” said Varhola. “Being in the Army is about service. It’s about being willing to fight and die along with people who are also willing to fight and die.”

While Varhola will miss the mutual feeling of knowing someone has your back, he has plans to start a new chapter with his family stateside. 

“My wife also has 30 years of service. It’s been hard dual military, but we agreed that when we hit 30 it was time to go,” added Varhola. “Our marriage is like most Army marriages — it’s great, but we want to make it even greater.”

The Soldiers with the 2500th DLD will complete the rest of their annual training under the command of Gimenez. 

“(This organization) punches above its own weight,” said Giminez. “Keep doing that. I look forward to working with you.”