Haas assumes command of SOCAFRICA

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http://news.soc.mil/releases/News Archive/2009/August/090825-01.html

KELLEY BARRACKS, STUTTGART, Germany (USASOC News Service, Aug. 25, 2009) – U.S. Army Col. Christopher K. Haas assumed command of Special Operations Command Africa from Brig. Gen. Patrick M. Higgins at a change of command ceremony held here Aug. 24.

Col. Haas was the Director of the U.S. Special Operations Command Legislative Affairs office in Washington, D.C. He is a graduate of Duquesne University where he was commissioned through Army ROTC as a second lieutenant in the infantry.

“To all the members of SOCAFRICA, I am in awe of your accomplishments and your professionalism,” said Haas, who counts among his awards three Defense Superior Service Medals and a Legion of Merit. “You all have my deepest respect, trust and confidence. And I will, in the coming months, endeavor to earn yours.”

Gen. Higgins served as SOCAFRICA’s first commander and assumed command of the unit in August 2007 when it was just a transitional headquarters. He said he was extremely proud of the command he will leave behind to become the Director of Special Operations Directorate-Iraq, Multi-National Forces-Iraq.

“Together we built, what I consider, one of the finest teams I have ever been a part of -- a staff of dedicated and talented people who believe in AFRICOM’s mission and in an innovative approach to meet the daily challenges of that mission -- a mission of peace, not war,” Gen. Higgins said. “I have been proud to stand side-by-side with each and every one of you. The important work you do here is making a difference to our nation and to the prosperity, security and freedom of the African people.”

Gen. William E. “Kip” Ward, Commander of U.S. Africa Command, presided over the ceremony. He stated in his remarks that Gen. Higgins was the right choice to be SOCAFRICA’s first commander.

“It was a tall order setting up a theater special operations command, but no question, if you know Pat Higgins, he was up for the task,” Gen. Ward said. “Under his command, SOCAFRICA today is thriving and doing great things on the African continent. I’m so proud. Congratulations and well done, my friend!”

As SOCAFRICA commander, Col. Haas exercises operational control of Special Operations Forces within the command’s area of responsibility, which includes 53 countries and more than 13 million square miles. The primary focus of the command is on Special Operations Forces missions that develop African partner capacity, provide assistance and support theater security cooperation objectives.

“I could not ask for a more perfect commander to come here behind Gen.l Higgins and take over SOCAFRICA,” Gen. Ward added. “Absolutely no doubt, Col. Haas is the man for the job!”

Col. Haas is a 24-year Army veteran who has served in multiple Special Operations assignments. He has held command positions as Commander, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C., and served two tours as Commander, Combined Joint Special Operations Task Forces – Afghanistan.


Gen. William E. Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command, pins the Defense Superior Service Medal onto Brig. Gen. Patrick M. Higgins, commander of Special Operations Command Africa, during a change of command ceremony Aug. 24 at Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart, Germany. Higgins was relieved by Col. Christopher K. Haas. This was the fist change of command ceremony for SOCAFRICA, which was established Oct. 1, 2008. (Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel P. Lapierre, U.S. Africa Command)

Col. Christopher K. Haas

Gen. William E. Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command, presents the Special Operations Command Africa colors to Col. Christopher K. Haas, the new SOCAFRICA commander, during a change of command ceremony Aug. 24 at Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart, Germany. Haas succeeds Brig. Gen. Patrick M. Higgins. This was the first change of command ceremony for Special Operations Command Africa, which was established Oct. 1, 2008. (Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel P. Lapierre, U.S. Africa Command)
 

FORAC

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I dipped through in July on my way back to the UK.
 

car

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So... anyone else over here in Stuttgart?
I was there in the AFRICOM and SOCAF HQs the week before Christmas last year. I'm sure things have changds. They were still occupying their buildings.
 

marks971

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Just got home from there in Oct. I was with the SSD as the Operations NCOIC. Thinking about trying to come back for a while.
 

Florida173

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We play soccer with some of SSD people friday mornings.. although it's been a bit cold lately. I prefer to goto the gym instead.

Also... It is now BG Haas. He got his star a couple of weeks ago.
 

Florida173

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I was there in the AFRICOM and SOCAF HQs the week before Christmas last year. I'm sure things have changds. They were still occupying their buildings.

Yeah.. new building now. Much nicer.
 

marks971

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We play soccer with some of SSD people friday mornings.. although it's been a bit cold lately. I prefer to goto the gym instead.

Also... It is now BG Haas. He got his star a couple of weeks ago.
Watch out for 1SG Dalton and Capt R isn't bad either. I am sure some of the other SSD (AF) guys are fairly good. I know the rest are fairly good. Glad to hear BG Haas got his star, I got to sit thru the Change of Command when he took command.
 

Marauder06

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IIRC, I worked with him before, at 5th Group. If it's the guy I'm thinking about, he's a good officer.
 

marks971

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Wait. Time out. SOCAFRICA Sig Det is not a 112th unit?
The way the Army does it units still kind of confuses me. I know I still have a lot to learn how the Army works. I am use to AF, but at the activation ceremony for the SSD on 7 Oct the CC and CSM for the 112th were there and passed the guidon to Capt Rospendowski.
 

LongTabSigO

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The way the Army does it units still kind of confuses me. I know I still have a lot to learn how the Army works. I am use to AF, but at the activation ceremony for the SSD on 7 Oct the CC and CSM for the 112th were there and passed the guidon to Capt Rospendowski.
OK...*whew*....just checking. I look forward to meeting those guys...

The Army calls the unit leader "Commander", not CC, but i knew what you meant.

Appreciate the clarification.

(FYI: "SSD" is the trademark of SOCEUR Sig Det) :)
 
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