Change of command ceremony for U.S. Army Africa in Vicenza, Italy and the graduation of the David G. Farragut High School Class of 2010 in Rota, Spain.

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On 6/21/2010 2:25:19 PM General William E. Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command wrote:

Hello Teammates,

I recently had the privilege of taking part in the change of command ceremony for U.S. Army Africa in Vicenza, Italy and the graduation of the David G. Farragut High School Class of 2010 in Rota, Spain.

Saying farewell to Major General Burke Garrett and his wife Kim was bittersweet.  As the first commander of United States Army Africa, Burke laid the foundation of our premier Army team dedicated to supporting positive change on the continent.  He was instrumental in building and strengthening relationships with African Army organizations and international partners.  He will bring the outstanding leadership and intellect he demonstrated in standing up U.S. Army Africa to his new role as Chief of Staff for U.S. Forces Iraq.

The music for the ceremony was provided by an Italian military band, a symbol of the strong and enduring friendship between our countries.  General Carter Ham, Commanding General for United States Army Europe (USAREUR), also participated in the ceremony.  Together we said our goodbyes to the Garrett’s and welcomed Major General David Hogg, his wife Martina, and their boys to U.S. Army Africa.  Dave comes to us from commanding the Joint Multinational Training Center in Grafenwoehr and we are excited to welcome the Hogg’s to the U.S. Africa Command team. I am excited about the vision and leadership they bring in taking USARAF to the next level.

On Friday morning I flew to Rota, Spain with my team to speak at the David G. Farragut High School graduation ceremony. Before the ceremony, I had the chance to visit the USS JOHN L. HALL, which was in Rota en route to the west coast of Africa to support cooperative security engagements for the Africa Partnership Station (APS) program.  I thanked the crew for their work, which is strengthening regional security and stability for the mutual benefit of future generations of Africans and Americans.

At Farragut High School, I met with Robert Klaine and his colleagues from the ASPIRE (American Students Partnering in Response and Education) Program, which provides books, medical supplies, toys and other items to various facilities in Morocco.  Robert started the program as a way to give back to the Moroccans for helping him when he had a terrible accident there several years ago.  ASPIRE has grown into a wonderful program that provides students and faculty from the high school with cross-cultural educational experiences.  We met a nurse and her husband from Morocco who had traveled to Spain to thank the graduating students for their help with the program.

I had the great honor that evening of celebrating the achievements of the twenty-four graduates of the David G. Farragut High School. These young people represent the keys to America’’s future. Some of them will go on to be doctors, lawyers, politicians, military leaders, business men and women, but whatever path they choose I hope they will do it to the best of their abilities.  I left thoroughly inspired by their energy and promise.  If these graduates are any indication, I believe that America’s future is in good hands.

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