U.S. Army Garrison Fort Greely conducted a Change of Command Ceremony at the Aurora Community Activities Center June 13 where Lt. Col. Michael Foote relinquished command to Lt. Col. Joel Johnson.

U.S. Army Garrison Alaska Commander, Sean Fisher presided over the ceremony. Foote served as the garrison commander since April 5, 2017 and will depart to Fort Knox, Kentucky to serve as the Special Forces branch manager. Foote is married to the former Miss Danielle Valcourt and they have two children.

“Two short years ago, I stood up here and talked about Fort Greely being America’s shield. A shield that protects constantly, unfailingly. A shield that not only protects Americans, but millions of other global citizens across dozens of allied countries - every minute of every day. Today, I stand here an even bigger believer in this mission, this incredible post, and the shield. ‘300 protecting 300,000,000’ - what a motto; defending the American way of life, man what a mission,” said Foote in his farewell speech to the Garrison.

Johnson, USAG Fort Greely incoming commander, most recently served with the 32d Army Air and Missile Defense Command at Fort Bliss, Texas. Johnson is married to the former Miss Stacy Atherton and they have four children.

Fort Greely serves as the Nation’s home for the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense Program and the Cold Regions Test Center. Fort Greely tenant units include: Operations Group GBMD, 49th Missile Defense Battalion, 59th Signal Battalion (NEC), Cold Regions Test Center, Logistics Readiness Center, Army and Air Force Exchange Service, Defense Commissary Agency, and the U.S. Postal Service. The garrison commander at Fort Greely is dual-hatted and reports to both Installation Management Command through U.S. Army Garrison Alaska and the senior mission commander through the Space and Missile Defense Command in Huntsville, Alabama.

The Change of Command Ceremony is a military tradition that is rich with symbolism and heritage. Key to the ceremony is the passing of the unit colors. The colors are the commander’s symbol of authority representing his responsibilities to the organization. The passing of the colors represents the transfer of authority from the outgoing commander to the incoming commander.