USAG Japan holds change of command ceremony July 21, 2015
CAMP ZAMA, Japan (July, 21 2015) -- Col. William B. Johnson assumed command of U.S. Army Garrison Japan in a change of command ceremony held July 8 inside the hanger at Kastner Army Airfield on the Camp Zama installation.
Johnson replaced Col. Joy L. Curriera, who will be leaving Camp Zama to work at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., as the chief of Colonels Management, Senior Leader Development Office.
Dr. Christine T. Altendorf, director of Installation Management Command-Pacific, officiated the ceremony before an audience of Japanese and American military and civilian dignitaries, Civilian employees and Family members.
Altendorf praised the outgoing commander, highlighting some of the initiatives Curriera had implemented: a mentoring program that offered training and professional development for Local National Employees; a memorandum of agreement with the city of Yokohama which coordinates disaster preparedness and emergency response efforts; a female mentorship program which included both enlisted Soldiers and officers; and the "It Takes a Community" program, which offered an open forum for several topics ranging from raising a child to energy conservation.
"Each of her initiatives was geared toward a different audience and each enabled U.S. Army Garrison Japan to identify issues and concerns in support of Joy's motto: "Forever forward, never backward."
In addition, Altendorf continued, "Joy also understood the importance of good Japanese and American relationships, and she worked closely with local governments to discuss issues and develop plans to resolve those issues. She improved U.S. Army/Japan contingency mission capabilities to include base defense operations by establishing support agreements with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force."
The director then offered her welcome to the incoming commander.
"You come to this command with great leadership credentials," Altendorf said. "The challenges here will be great, but the rewards will be even greater. You will develop skills in areas you once took for granted, and the diversity of your new portfolio will allow you to enhance your servant-leader capabilities. Will, you are inheriting a great garrison team that will support you 100 percent. I know you will find your new assignment professionally rewarding and personally enriching."
Curriera, then offered her remarks about her two-year command. "Well, they say the one constant in the Army is change," she said. "I certainly wasn't looking for this day to come so soon, but here we are and what a fantastic ride it has been to get here."
"It's been an absolute privilege and honor to command the most geographically dispersed garrison in our Army, and to serve alongside the best garrison workforce anyone could possibly ask for," Curriera said. "I'll let you in on a little secret… this garrison, your garrison, would get after it all whether I was the commander or not. I just enjoyed the ride, helped steer in some areas, and was honored to serve with our DA Civilians and military members. The passion this garrison workforce has for taking care of Soldiers, DA Civilians and Families is reflected in the services they provided each and every day."
After reflecting further on highlights from her time in command, Curriera offered her support of the incoming commander. "This community will continue to thrive under Col. Will Johnson's leadership, I have no doubts. I'm confident that he's the perfect fit to move the garrison forward." Curriera said. "Will, I wish you the very best as you figure out this garrison gig."
The new commander spoke about his enthusiasm for his new command here. "No one could be more excited about the opportunity to serve in Japan than I am. Our reception here has been tremendous," Johnson said. "I am honored by the opportunity to lead this professional organization and we are excited to join such a special community."
Johnson concluded by saying, "It is remarkable to see the success this garrison has already had, and I look forward to working with all of you to continue building upon the positive relationship we have with our Japanese hosts, providing great customer service and support to our tenant organizations, and strengthening the overall U.S./Japan alliance. Together we can continue to make U.S. Army Garrison Japan the 'Army's Home, Away from Home.'"