HARLINGEN, Texas –
Army Reserve Soldiers of the 319th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion (CSSB) gathered Sunday to conduct a change of command ceremony at the Naval Operational Support Center Harlingen.
Change of command ceremonies are steeped in military tradition and symbolize the passing of authority as the outgoing commander physically hands the unit’s colors to the incoming commander.
The 319th CSSB welcomed Lt. Col. Beatriz Florez as the new commander and Sgt. Maj. Ramiro Barajas Jr. as the incoming interim command sergeant major in the time-honored ceremony. Florez, a native of McAllen, Texas, served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and is a Bronze Star Medal recipient. Her last assignment was with the 310th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) while deployed to Erbil, Iraq.
“It’s great to be back with the Wolfpack! It is an honor to be allowed to command a battalion of excellent Soldiers and civilians,” said Florez, who previously served with the unit as the Headquarters and Headquarters Company commander. “Command is an awesome responsibility that I do not take lightly. I look forward to working with all of you.”
During the ceremony, Lt. Col. Christopher Smith, the unit’s outgoing commander, shared his words of encouragement for the new command team.
“This unit has completed some great missions over the past year, and I have absolute confidence you will continue to do great things under your new command team,” he said.
Smith will go on to command the 90th Special Troops Battalion of Little Rock, Arkansas.
Once responsibility for the command of the unit had been officially transferred, the ceremony focused on recognizing the new command sergeant major and bidding farewell to the outgoing command sergeant major.
During the ceremony, Master Sgt. Nadya Rosales, the outgoing interim command sergeant major, handed responsibility for the care of the unit’s personnel to Sgt. Maj. Ramiro Barajas Jr.
“It is a pleasure to be able to serve this battalion as your CSM,” Barajas said. “CSM Rosales and her team have left some big shoes to fill. I am willing and ready to take on the challenge of improving unit metrics and discipline as a whole, but more importantly, provide mentorship to the Soldiers and officers of this battalion.”
Col. Russell Chambers, commander of the 211th Regional Support Group, presided over the ceremony and expressed his confidence in the abilities of the unit’s new command team.
“I do not doubt under the exceptional leadership of Lt. Col. Florez and Sgt. Maj. Barajas that the 319th will continue rising to great heights and become the premier Combat Sustainment Support Battalion in the United States Army,” he said.