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1st Space Brigade welcomes new commander

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - Incoming 1st Space Brigade Commander Col. Richard Zellmann, left, receives the brigade colors from Lt. Gen. David Mann, commander, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, June 21 during a change of command ceremony at Patriot Park, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. (Photo by Dottie K. White)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - Incoming 1st Space Brigade Commander Col. Richard Zellmann, left, receives the brigade colors from Lt. Gen. David Mann, commander, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, June 21 during a change of command ceremony at Patriot Park, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. (Photo by Dottie K. White)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Col. Richard L. Zellmann assumed command of the 1st Space Brigade from the outgoing commander, Col. Thomas L. James, during a Change of Command conducted June 21 at Patriot Park here.

Lt. Gen. David L. Mann, commanding general, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, hosted the ceremony for the 1st Space Brigade, which provides critical space capabilities and products to Warfighters and combatant commanders.

After passing the brigade colors to the new commander, Mann in his remarks said, “I think everyone would agree that command is a very important position within our Army. No other job has the responsibilities or has more of an impact on the success of a command. In fact being selected for command as many of you know is a very highly competitive process. It represents the ultimate vote of confidence, and it certainly is a significant achievement in anyone’s career.

“The Army requires a tough selection process to ensure that the right officers and the right noncommissioned officers are selected to lead our Soldiers,” Mann added. “Col. James has taken this command to the next level. He has led with distinction and class at a time when the mission continues to grow while resources are a challenge.”

Mann then turned his attention to the incoming commander.

“We continue to select commanders based upon a record of excellence, and Rick Zellmann is just the man for the job. In fact it’s no surprise that Rick was selected for this position. He’s been instrumental in space operations working at many levels and throughout the space community. He is no stranger to SMDC spending time as an executive officer and as commander with the 1st Space Battalion, and he was a superb leader in our G-31 shop. He is the perfect fit for this brigade.”

As the outgoing commander, James honored the Soldiers, civilians and contractors of the 1st Space Brigade.

We’re here today to recognize a change in brigade leadership, but really this is an opportunity to publically honor the 1st Space Brigade – the Soldiers, active and reserve; our Australian coalition members; civilians, families and contractors. Make no mistake, there is only one ‘space brigade,’ and no other organization on the planet is organized trained and equipped to do all that this brigade does and does incredibly well as a matter of routine. We gather here today to recognize their tremendous accomplishments and their bright future for service to the nation.

“It has been my deepest honor and greatest pride to serve with you,” James said. “Keep fighting the good fight.”

James told attendees how fortunate the brigade was to have Team Zellmann at the helm.

“Rick, you have a unique background that prepares you better for this command more so than any of your predecessors. You are the right leader at the right time. I am excited for the future of the brigade under your tenure. You have a bright path ahead of you. Best of luck and God speed to you and Lynn.”

Upon taking command, Zellmann addressed the importance of the brigade.

“The team you see out on the field today is building readiness … getting ready for their turn to deploy and continue the legacy of successful operational deployments of the 1st Space Brigade,” said Zellmann. “Today most of the Army is reducing in size. The 1st Space Brigade is growing. We are growing because the Army and our adversaries recognize the importance of the space domain in modern combat operations. Because the space domain is so important and the Army still has only one ‘space brigade,’ every Soldier in the formation has to be ready for the away game, and that’s to support the (Forces Command) commander.

“Col. Tom James has done a superb job ensuring the 1st Space Brigade has been able to answer the call,” Zellmann continued. “I congratulate him and his wife, Nicole, on a successful command and wish them well as they move to the capital region. Tom is an energetic and approachable leader. I’m looking forward to continuing Tom’s approach by working with each and every Soldier, (Department of the Army) civilian and contractor within the brigade as we continue to build readiness with the complex and dynamic operational environment that we face today.”

Prior to the official ceremony, Mann presented the Legion of Merit Award to James for exceptionally meritorious service as commander of the 1st Space Brigade and the Outstanding Civilian Service Medal to Nicole for her support to the community and for her contributions and efforts to the Soldiers and families of the 1st Space Brigade.

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