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NEWS | Aug. 16, 2022

Triple ceremony brings a new command team to USACAPOC(A)

By Sgt. 1st Class Lisa Litchfield U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne)

“Change of leadership, it’s always a bittersweet time” said Maj. Gen. Michael D. Roache, chief of staff, U.S. Army Reserve Command, addressing the Soldiers, Family members and friends gathered to celebrate the U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne) combined change of command and responsibility held at the main post parade field, August 13, 2022. 

USACAPOC(A) outgoing Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Jeffrey C. Coggin relinquished command to Maj. Gen. Isaac Johnson, Jr., while outgoing Command Sgt Maj. Peter Trotter, USACAPOC(A), executed a changed responsibility with incoming Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel F. Benedict. 

Change of command and change of responsibility ceremonies transfer authority and responsibility for units and Soldiers from one qualified leader to another. This historic military tradition is centered around the colors, which are passed from the outgoing commander team to the incoming command team, ensuring continuity and guaranteeing that the unit and its Soldiers are never without leadership.

“We’re going to miss Maj. Gen. Coggin and Command Sgt. Maj. Trotter,” said Roache, “but as we change leadership roles our USACAPOC(A) Soldiers are in great hands with Maj. Gen. Johnson and Command Sgt. Maj. Benedict.”

Following the formal portion of the ceremony and the transfer of authorities, the Sergeants Major were the first to address the assembled guests.

“It has been a pleasure and an honor being the CSM of USACAPOC(A),” said Trotter before sharing his appreciation for first his Family and ultimately his former Soldiers.

“I want to thank the Soldiers for their hard work and for everything y’all have accomplished over the past three years. You all have done an outstanding job. NCOs are the backbone of the Army, but the Family is the backbone of the NCO,” he concluded.

Benedict took the podium, thanked his wife for her unwavering support, and as the incoming senior advisor, focused on the future of the unit. 

“There is a constant demand for the capabilities of Civil Affairs, Psychological Operations, and Information Operations around the world in addition to the numerous operations and training exercises CONUS,” explained Benedict.  “I will continue to do what I can to make sure our Soldiers are not only trained and ready, but mentally prepared to do what needs to be done.”

Next came the commanders.

Johnson is a familiar figure around USACAPOC(A), having served in many operational assignments throughout the command including Civil Affairs Planner with 321st Civil Affairs Brigade; Strategic-Joint Planner with United States Southern Command; Commander, 405th Civil Affairs Battalion; CJ-33, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa; Commander, 360th Civil Affairs Brigade (Airborne); Chief of Staff, 350th Civil Affairs Command; Assistant Chief of Staff, C9, United States-Republic of Korea Combined Forces Command; and Commanding General, 351st Civil Affairs Command. 

“Maj. Gen. Coggin, I want to thank you for your guidance and mentorship over the years,” Johnson began. “Thank you for being my commander, a friend, a counselor. To USACAPOC(A) Soldiers, Civilians, and Family, and adjacent units here at Ft. Bragg. It is my intent for USACAPOC(A) to be ready when called … to maintain relevance and value what must be on the top of the mind of commanders at every echelon and a force that is easy to do business with … I need a commitment from every USACAPOC(A) Soldier and Civilian here today that we will move this command forward and remain relevant in the fight. I think it is the solemn duty of any Reserve force to be ready when called upon.,” he concluded.

Upon the completion of Johnson’s remarks, retired Maj. Gen. Darrell J. Guthrie, former USACAPOC(A) Commanding General began the retirement ceremony portion of the day. 

“What a great, great day to be a Soldier,” Guthrie began, “and I am particularly honored to be able to participate in Jeff and Diane’s big day.” 

Guthrie spoke on Coggin’s many assignments and deployments and his lengthy history in the Civil Affairs branch, where he spent approximately 25 of his almost 33 years in service in various positions across USACAPOC(A), culminating with his appointment as commanding general. 
in July of 2020. 

“He was an experienced commander, a bulldog, committed, never walked past a challenge, or a problem,” said Guthrie.  “In my mind, he did two things incredibly well. First, he did not just recite the Army Values, Jeff lived them. And second, he fundamentally understood and led using mission command as well as anyone I have ever observed.”

Guthrie and Coggin then took to the parade field where the latter was presented with his Certificate of Retirement, his Certificate of Appreciation for Service in the Armed Forces of the United States of America, signed by President Joe Biden, an American flag, and the General Winfield Scott Gold Medallion, awarded by the Civil Affairs Association. 

Mrs. Diane Coggin joined her husband on the field and was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation from the Army for her unselfish, faithful, and devoted service which made possible her husband’s lasting contribution to the nation.

The last speaker of the day was retired Maj. Gen. Coggin.

“In the typical USCAPOC(A) standard of being the most effective and efficient command in the Army, we have succeeded today in upholding that standard,” said Coggin. “Combining three ceremonies; a change of responsibility, a change of command, and a retirement ceremony into one.” 

Coggin thanked his teammates, mentors, friends, and family for their contributions to his career and welcomed Johnson to the role of USACAPOC(A) commanding general. 

“Maj. Gen. Johnson, my congratulations to you, Demetria and your sons, your family members on your promotion to major general and your command of USACAOPC(A). You are the right leader at the right time to continue moving USACAPOC(A) forward,” said Coggin.

Coggin closed the ceremony and the day with one final thought for his career and his Soldiers. 

“It is with great pride that I finish my Army career today from USACAPOC(A) and with each of you,” said Coggin. “I will leave this field today having had the honor to command USACAPOC(A) and to lead and serve with the greatest Soldiers in the Army. I am proud of each of you, and I ask that you be proud of what you do, and what you are a part of every day. You are the fabric and strength of our great nation. All the way!”