Fort Bragg, NC –
“The change of command is a traditional ceremony, rich in symbolism and heritage.” With those words, the change of command between outgoing 2nd Psychological Operations Group (2POG) commander Col. James C. Slaughter, and incoming commander Col. Lawrence E. Williams began at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Canton, Ohio, Nov 5, 2022.
As the ceremony narrator explained the symbolism of the movements, Command Sgt. Maj. Tawanna M. Dawson, 2POG command sergeant major, took charge of the colors, first passing them to Slaughter, then receiving them back from Williams. These symbolic movements served as a visualization of the transfer of authority to Williams, with the colors signifying not only the lineage and heritage of the unit, but the loyalty and unity of the Soldiers serving within its’ ranks.
Following the passing of the colors, Brig. Gen. Andrée Carter, deputy commanding general, U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne), who presided over the ceremony, took the podium to speak to those in attendance.
“Today we are here to see the colors pass from one leader to another,” began Carter, “and it is an honor and privilege as a former 2nd Psychological Operations Group commander to take part in this historic event.”
After speaking to the audience, Carter spoke directly to each leader in turn, beginning with Slaughter.
“Thank you for your leadership,” said Carter. “You are a gentleman, and a gentle man, a compassionate leader who would not hesitate to attribute all the successes of 2nd POG to those who surround him … thank you for your sacrificial service and commitment to excellence, I wish you and your family Godspeed as you prepare for continued service as a Soldier for life.”
Carter welcomed Williams as the incoming commander, noting that she had previously worked with him during her time at 2nd POG.
“2nd POG is the epitome of world class professionalism,” she stated. “Col. Williams, Lawrence, I am confident that 2nd POG will be taken to the next level under your leadership, and 2nd POG is certainly in good hands. I am honored to have served alongside you and with you a few years ago… and now I pass the colors on to you.”
Following Carter’s remarks, Slaughter took the podium to thank the Pro Football Hall of Fame for allowing the change of command to take place at their facilities before saying farewell to his Soldiers.
“It certainly has been a great day all around,” enthused Slaughter. “It is with mixed emotions that this is the last time I will stand in front of the 2nd PSYOP Group… it’s truly been a pleasure, and my honor and privilege to be your commander.”
Slaughter spoke on the opportunity for change and growth as commanders change and broaden their experiences, the development of leaders, and how it takes a team to make things happen before ceding the floor to Williams.
“Being a part of the PSYOP Regiment is… I’m at a loss for words,'' began COL Williams. “this is a family.” he said.
Williams continued on to thank God, the USACAPOC(A) leadership, mentors, friends and his family for their guidance and support over the years.
“I am grateful,” he stated. “I would not be here without the conversations, the support and sometimes straightening out of these individuals.”
“To the Soldiers of the 2nd Psychological Operations Group, in my opinion, one of the greatest honors a person could ever be bestowed with is to lead the (Nation’s) sons and daughters. I take this honor seriously, I take it as a challenge that I always look forward to.”
Williams concluded by telling his Soldiers that he “looks forward to answering the call with you, and we will continue to persuade, change and influence around the world.”
Following the ceremony, the guests, families and Soldiers were invited to visit with the two commanders, enjoy a reception for the new commander and tour the Hall of Fame.