50th Regional Support Group changes command

Written by  //  February 8, 2014  //  CBJTC News, Feature Stories

Soldiers from the Homestead-based 50th Regional Support Group take part in the unit's Change of Command ceremony at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center near Starke, Fla., Feb. 8, 2013. Photo by Master Sgt. Thomas Kielbasa

Soldiers from the Homestead-based 50th Regional Support Group take part in the unit’s Change of Command ceremony at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center near Starke, Fla., Feb. 8, 2014. Photo by Master Sgt. Thomas Kielbasa

Col. Kaye takes command from Col. Gonzalez-Kerr

Photos of ceremony available on Flickr Photostream.

STARKE, Fla. (Feb. 8, 2014) – One of the Florida Army National Guard’s largest units welcomed a new commander today, as Col. Peter Kaye officially took command of the 50th Regional Support Group (RSG) during a military ceremony at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center.

Command Sgt. Maj. Enrique Mendez (right) passes the 50th Regional Support Group's guidon to outgoing commander Col. Valeria Gonzalez-Kerr (left) while incoming commander Col. Peter Kaye looks on, during the unit's Change of Command ceremony at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center, Fla., Feb. 8, 2014. Photo by Master Sgt. Thomas Kielbasa

Command Sgt. Maj. Enrique Mendez (right) passes the 50th Regional Support Group’s guidon to outgoing commander Col. Valeria Gonzalez-Kerr (left) while incoming commander Col. Peter Kaye looks on, during the unit’s Change of Command ceremony at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center, Fla., Feb. 8, 2014. Photo by Master Sgt. Thomas Kielbasa

Kaye, a resident of Temple Terrace, Fla., accepted the reins of the major command from Col. Valeria Gonzalez-Kerr during the afternoon event on post’s parade field.

“This command was amazing,” Gonzalez-Kerr said of her time as the 50th RSG’s leader. “It was a ‘dream come true’ to have been a brigade-level commander, and it was an incredible honor. The Soldiers were amazing, the NCOs were great, and the officers were awesome. We have a really good team that we have built over the years.”

Gonzalez-Kerr, who served at various levels of command within the 50th RSG since joining the Florida National Guard in 1990, said she felt confident the unit and its Soldiers are “postured to keep going forward” under Kaye’s leadership.

Before taking command of the unit in August 2011, Gonzalez-Kerr deployed to Iraq in 2007 as the commander of the 927th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion – a subordinate unit of the 50th RSG – and she currently serves as the Director of Human Resources for the Florida National Guard.

“A change of command represents the pinnacle of a career,” Assistant Adjutant General for the Florida Army National Guard Maj. Gen. James Tyre said during the ceremony. “When you look at the 50th RSG and its accomplishments over the last few years, it’s apparent that Col. (Gonalez-Kerr) and her team’s contribution to the Florida Army National Guard, to the state of Florida and to our nation has been absolutely outstanding.”

Assistant Adjutant General for the Florida Army National Guard Maj. Gen. James Tyre (seated) watches as Commander of the 50th Regional Support Group Col. Peter Kaye addresses his new unit for the first time at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center, Feb. 8, 2014. Photo by Master Sgt. Thomas Kielbasa

Assistant Adjutant General for the Florida Army National Guard Maj. Gen. James Tyre (seated) watches as Commander of the 50th Regional Support Group Col. Peter Kaye addresses his new unit for the first time at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center, Feb. 8, 2014. Photo by Master Sgt. Thomas Kielbasa

Kaye, who most recently served as the commander of the 930th Digital Liaison Detachment in Homestead, said he is excited about the opportunity to lead the men and women of the 50th RSG.

“Words can’t describe this,” Kaye, who works as a business consultant for Winmark Corporation as his civilian job, said. “All I can think of is how blessed I am to come into such a great organization as its commander.”

Kaye said he is grateful to the past commanders – including Col. Gonzalez-Kerr, Brig. Gen. Michael Calhoun, and Col. Joseph Duren – for their dedication to the unit’s readiness. He added that he wants the 50th Soldiers to know he will continue that tradition or professionalism and dedication to their needs.

“I will always be there for them,” Kaye said. “I take my job as the commander very seriously and they can always count on me.”

Kaye received his commission as a second lieutenant through the University of South Florida in 1986, and holds a Master of Strategic Studies degree of the United States Army War College. He has mobilized twice since 2001, both times in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. In 2010 Kaye served as the rear detachment commander for the 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team during the unit’s mobilization for Operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn. He also recently served as the Director of Strategic Plans and Policy for the Florida National Guard.

“As a look ahead I see nothing short of excellence in the coming years from Col. Kaye and his Soldiers of the 50th RSG,” Maj. Gen. Tyre added during the ceremony.

Kaye said the 50th’s continued readiness will be an important aspect of his command as he takes charge of the unit, and feels the Soldiers are prepared for both federal missions overseas and civil support missions here at home.

“We are in a great position to not just support the nation, but also the state of Florida as we get ready for hurricane season,” Kaye affirmed.

The mission of the 50th Regional Support Group is to provide combat service support to units assigned to, or passing through, its area of responsibility. It can also provide command and control for those units. The Soldiers of the 50th RSG are also responsible for the physical security and rear-area force protection activities during their missions. The unit headquarters is based in Homestead, Fla.

 

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