50th Area Support Group welcomes new commander during South Florida ceremony

Written by  //  August 14, 2011  //  Feature Stories

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Aug. 14, 2011) – Soldiers from throughout Florida gathered at the state’s southernmost National Guard armory this morning, as the 50th Area Support Group said goodbye to one leader and welcomed another.

During the traditional military ceremony Col. Valeria Gonzalez-Kerr assumed command of the Homestead-based 50th Area Support Group (ASG), taking the reins of the unit from Col. Michael Calhoun.

Adjutant General of Florida Maj. Gen. Emmett R. Titshaw Jr. (left) presents unit colors to incoming commander of the 50th Area Support Group Col. Valeria Gonzalez-Kerr during a change of command ceremony in Homestead, Aug. 14, 2011. Photo by Master Sgt. Thomas Kielbasa

Adjutant General of Florida Maj. Gen. Emmett Titshaw Jr., who hosted the ceremony, lauded Calhoun for his leadership as 50th ASG commander, and welcomed Gonzalez-Kerr to the new position. “Thank you for assuming this responsibility,” Titshaw said to the new commander. “You have my full confidence and support.”

Outgoing commander Calhoun thanked his Soldiers for all their efforts during his command, especially during high-profile missions like support to the Deepwater Horizon oil response in the Gulf of Mexico.

“All of the battalions did a great job and we showed our efficiency in real-world operations,” he said. “…I am proud of my time and our accomplishments this past year, and equally as proud to have been your commander.”

During the ceremony the Adjutant General presented Calhoun with a Meritorious Service Medal and a Florida Cross. Calhoun assumed command of the Florida Army National Guard’s 83rd Troop Command in July.

“Thank you for the opportunity to command this outstanding organization,” incoming commander Gonzalez-Kerr said to Titshaw after she assumed command. “I am truly humbled and grateful that you have trusted this command to me.”

Her career in the Florida Army National Guard began in September 1990 in which she has held a variety of command and staff positions. Gonzalez-Kerr deployed to Iraq in 2007 as the Commander of the 927th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion. She is currently serving as Director of Human Resources for the Florida National Guard.

“We are the trusted logisticians for (Defense Support to Civilian Authorities) operations for the Florida National Guard and are ready to answer the call of our government and fellow Floridians,” she said, addressing the 50th ASG Soldiers. “…I expect hard work, proper planning, and proper execution of anything we need to accomplish.”

The 50th ASG provides combat service support to units assigned to or passing through its area of responsibility, and command and control for various assigned units. It is also responsible for physical security and rear area force protection activities. More than 1,800 Florida Army National Guard Soldiers are assigned to the major command.

Members of the 50th Area Support Group salute during the unit's change of command ceremony in Homestead, Fla., Aug. 14, 2011. Photo by Master Sgt. Thomas Kielbasa

The 50th is comprised of Soldiers from: Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC), 50th ASG; 930th Army Liaison Team; HHC 927th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion; 144th Transportation Company; 256th Medical Company; 631st Maintenance Company; 153rd Finance Company; 260th Military Intelligence Battalion; 356th Quartermaster Company; 856th Quartermaster Company; and the 146th Signal Battalion.




(More photos of the ceremony available at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/floridanationalguardonflickr)