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Change of Command
KAPISA PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Air Force Lt. Cols. Thomas Goulter and Joseph Paguiligan stand ready to transfer authority of Kapisa Provincial Reconstruction Team while U.S. Army Army 1st Sgts. Earl Jones and Edward Kelly bear the PRT guidons here at Forward Operating Base Morales-Frazier, Afghanistan, March 8. French Brig. Gen. Marcel Druart oversaw the transfer, combining the traditions of the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force and French military during the ceremony. (Photo by U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Michele M. Rollins, Kapisa Provincial Reconstruction Team Public Affairs)
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Guidon is passed for Kapisa PRT

Posted 3/10/2010   Updated 3/10/2010 Email story   Print story


by 1st Lt. Michele M. Rollins
Kapisa PRT, Public Affairs

3/10/2010 - KAPISA PROVINCE, Afghanistan  --  Military members from Task Force La Fayette gathered at Forward Operating Base Morales-Frazier in the Kapisa province to observe a transfer of authority ceremony, March 8.

Members of Provincial Reconstruction Team Kapisa watched as U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Thomas Goulter transferred the PRT's guidon to the incoming team led by U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Joseph Paguiligan. French Brig. Gen. Marcel Druart presided over the ceremony. This is the first time a French commander has passed the guidon from one U.S. Air Force commander to another, encompassing the traditions of the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force and French military during the ceremony.

The ceremony is a time-honored tradition dating back to the reign of Frederick the Great of Prussia during the eighteenth century. Organizational flags were created, depicting colors and symbols unique to each unit. The guidon bearing the flag was passed to the leader of the new unit as a public display of allegiance and assumption of duty.

In the presence of special host nation guests from Kapisa and International Security Assistance Force leaders, Task Force Cyclone commander U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Joseph Culver highlighted International Women's Day and the efforts of the "Drifters" to provide a "brighter future for Afghanistan."

Druart reminded Goulter and the "Drifters" they had established a professional relationship that turned into a friendly relationship. The PRT believed in their mission and performed because they were professional soldiers. He also welcomed Paguiligan and the "Patriots," eager to continue to build strong relationships and to enhance the "one goal, one team" vision in aiding the people of Kapisa.

Provincial Reconstruction Teams are units that use the unique capabilities of Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen as well as interagency civilians. PRT Kapisa, made of members from Airmen and Soldiers worldwide, including the 404th Civil Affairs Battalion, Airborne, and the South Carolina and Pennsylvania Army National Guards, as well as civilians from the Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, and U.S. Department of Agriculture, is further distinctive, falling under NATO tactical control to Task Force La Fayette.

While PRTs are more commonly known for facilitating reconstruction projects, the joint efforts of these civil-military field teams aids the provincial governments' ability to deliver essential services and other key development projects to local Afghans. With the support of PRT assets like civil affairs and civil engineer, the Afghan government can build the security, development and governance necessary to complete the transition to full Afghan control.

During the ceremony, 26 American Soldiers and Airmen earned the distinction of wearing the Medal of National Defense for France and the French Commemorative Medal for Afghanistan for their support to Task Force La Fayette.

The Medal of National Defense is a French decoration honoring civilian and military personnel who have served honorably for their participation to French operations. The award comes in three levels: gold, silver and bronze.

The French Medal of National Defense, Gold Level, was awarded to the following U.S. servicemembers:

Air Force Lt. Col. Thomas Goulter
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael Evans

The French Medal of National Defense, Silver Level, was awarded to the following U.S. servicemembers:

Air Force Maj. Lori Adams
Army Maj. John Misenheimer
Army Capt. Alicia Chapman
Air Force Capt. Darrick Lee

The French Commemorative Medal is a decoration given to civilian and military personnel who perform exceptionally under French command for more than 30 days in former Yugoslavia, Haiti, West Timor, southeast Asia and Afghanistan.

The French Military Campaign Medal for Afghanistan was awarded to the following U.S. servicemembers:

Army Capt. Christopher Kidd
Air Force Capt. Michael Kreuzer
Army Capt. Kelvin Thomas
Air Force 1st Lt. Graham Auten
Air Force 1st Lt. Anthony Raffaele
Army Chief Warrant Officer Phillip Gleaves
Army 1st Sgt. Earl Jones
Army Master Sgt. Julie Delaney
Army Master Sgt. Lisa Patton
Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone Sadler
Army Staff Sgt. Joshua Franke-Hyland
Army Staff Sgt. Allen Rivera
Air Force Tech Sgt. Kenneth Caughman
Air Force Tech Sgt William Cobb
Air Force Tech Sgt. Michael Gess
Army Sgt. Nathan Clark
Air Force Senior Airman Scott Cordova
Air Force Senior Airman Nathan Krombeen
Air Force Senior Airman Michael Shihrer
Air Force Senior Airman Daniel Watson

In his parting words, Goulter expressed how bittersweet of a day this was for him and thanked everyone that made the mission successful.
What we do day to day might not be military attractive, "but in order to win this war, it is definitely military necessity."

Upon assuming command, Paguiligan illustrated his commitment to the Kapisa province by expressing his thanks in both English and Dari. He is eager to continue the efforts that have been established by the outgoing team and to ensure the people of Kapisa continue towards a progressive future with the assistance of the "Patriots."

"This PRT mission we are about to embark upon is indeed work worth doing. We have trained many months together and I am confident that we are ready for the mission of assisting our Afghan and Coalition partners in providing security, stability and economic opportunity to the Afghan people here in the Kapisa province."

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