3rd Special Forces Group welcomes new commander

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http://news.soc.mil/releases/News Archive/2008/July/080710-04.html

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (USASOC News Service, July 10, 2008) – The 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) said goodbye to a familiar face while welcoming a new commander during a change of command ceremony July 10 on Meadows Field.

Col. Gus Benton II took the reins of the unit from Col. Christopher K. Haas during the early morning ceremony.

After having served with the 3rd SFG (A) for two years and two combat tours to Afghanistan, Haas passed command of the group to Benton in front of the group, their families and several distinguished guests.

Benton, who received his degree from Fort Valley State University as an ROTC Distinguished Military Graduate, comes to the group from being the chief of staff for the U.S. Army Special Forces Command. Prior to that he was the 2nd Battalion, 3rd SFG (A) commander and led them through two combat tours in Afghanistan.

“It is a great pleasure to pass the group colors to Colonel Gus Benton,” said Brig. Gen. Michael S. Repass, commanding general, U.S. Army Special Forces Command, who spoke at the ceremony.

Benton said it was good to be back in 3rd SFG (A), and he plans to lead by example.

“To the Soldiers and families of the 3rd Special Forces Group, I will serve with and lead you with all that God puts in me, of mind, body and soul,” said Benton, as he addressed the troops after the passing of the colors, which symbolizes the initiation of his command.

Benton’s career in the Army began as a Signal Officer. He served in that field for several years before joining the Special Forces community in 1993. Over the past 15 years, he and his wife, Carmel Benton, and their son, Corey Benton, have enjoyed a long and successful career.

“First and foremost, where would I be without God, as I’m eternally grateful for his many blessings,” Benton said, as he addressed the troops as their commander.

Benton also thanked Maj. Gen. Thomas R. Csrnko, commanding general of the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, as well as Repass for their trust and confidence in placing him in command of such a highly decorated and formidable unit.

For his part, Haas’ remarks were extremely heartfelt and personal. He spoke of the achievements of the group while under his command and personally recognized those fallen warriors who have given their lives in service over the years.

“I will carry the memory of the fallen of this group with me for the rest of my life,” said Haas. “All gave the last full measure of devotion, and I will do all I can to honor their sacrifice.”

He went on to note the achievements of the group, including the 13 Silver Stars the numerous Bronze Stars, Purple Hearts and many other awards.

“The rich history of 3rd Group is a direct reflection of their heroism,” Haas said, regarding those who have earned and been awarded these medals.

While Haas gave all accolades to the men in the group, Repass looked to him, as their commander and gave praise.

“Chris, your leadership over the past 25 months has been nothing short of outstanding,” Repass said. “As I look at the totality of where you’ve been and what you’ve done over the past seven years, I know of no other senior leader in Special Forces that has spent as much time in combat as you.”

Repass continued by noting Benton was inheriting a remarkable force.

“In Afghanistan, you and your Soldiers served up equal parts tenacity, lead and steel, compassion and professionalism,” Repass said.

He went on to mention the achievements of the group’s Soldiers in Iraq, where they have an independent Iraqi counter-terrorist force.

“That force is the pre-eminent Iraqi Army unit and probably the best Middle Eastern counter-terrorism force,” Repass said.

While the praise for the group and its members mounted high over its past achievements, more will come for Benton, who is taking over a group which constantly deploys and is always on the move, routing out terrorism throughout the world.

3rdbcociy8.jpg

Lt. Col. Donald Franklin recieves the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) Colors from Lt. Col. Christopher K. Haas, the 3rd SFG (A) commander, at a change of command ceremony on 3rd SFG (A) parade field. Franklin relieves outgoing commander Lt. Col. Lynn Ashley, who commanded the Battalion through two tours in Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Marie Schult, 3rd SFG (A) PAO NCOIC)
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Col. Gus Benton II, commander, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne),addresses the troops after the passing of the colors during the change of command ceremony on Meadows Plaza, Fort Bragg, N.C. today. Benton took over command of 3rd SFG (A) from Col. Christopher K. Haas, who commanded the Group for two years and lead them through two combat tours in Afghanistan. (Photo by SSG Marie Schult, 3rd SFG(A) Public Affairs)
 
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Simmerin' SigO

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COL Chris Haas
COL Gus Benton

Two great Americans. A good day for Special Forces. A good day for the 3d Group.

Thanks for sharing this Rav.
 
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