Thomas assumes command of 516th Signal Brigade

| July 25, 2013 | 0 Comments
Col. Cleophus Thomas Jr., incoming 516th Signal Brigade commander, receives the ceremonial flag from the host commander, Brig. Gen. Janice Haigler, deputy commanding general, 311th Signal Command (Theater), as Col. Scott Baer, outgoing 516th Signal Brigade commander (right), and Command Sgt. Maj. Allen Braswell (center), look on. The brigade change of command was conducted July 3, at historic Palm Circle, Fort Shafter. (Photos by Lin Clark Miller, 516th Signal Brigade Unit Public Affairs Representative, 311th Signal Command (Theater))

Col. Cleophus Thomas Jr. (front, left), incoming 516th Signal Brigade commander, receives the ceremonial flag from the host commander, Brig. Gen. Janice Haigler, deputy commanding general, 311th Signal Command (Theater), as Col. Scott Baer, outgoing 516th Signal Brigade commander (right), and Command Sgt. Maj. Allen Braswell (center), look on. The brigade change of command was conducted July 3, at historic Palm Circle, Fort Shafter. (Photo by Lin Clark Miller, 516th Signal Brigade Unit Public Affairs Representative, 311th Signal Command (Theater))

Story and photos by
Lin Clark Miller, Unit Public Affairs Representative
516th Signal Brigade, 311th Signal Command (Theater)

FORT SHAFTER — Col. Cleophus Thomas Jr. assumed command of the 516th Signal Brigade, 311th Signal Command (Theater), from the outgoing commander, Col. Scott Baer, during a change of command ceremony on historic Palm Circle, here, July 3.

As he received the ceremonial flag, Thomas became the leader of the brigade, four subordinate battalions, and a network operation and security center sharing communications missions covering more than 105 million square miles of the Pacific theater.

(From left to right) Col. Scott Baer, outgoing 516th Signal Brigade commander; Brig. Gen. Janice Haigler, deputy commanding general, 311th Signal Command (Theater); and Col. Cleophus Thomas Jr., incoming 516th Signal Brigade commander, march to the stage following the 516th Signal Brigade change of command ceremony, July 3, at historic Palm Circle, Fort Shafter.

(From left to right) Col. Scott Baer, outgoing 516th Signal Brigade commander; Brig. Gen. Janice Haigler, deputy commanding general, 311th Signal Command (Theater); and Col. Cleophus Thomas Jr., incoming 516th Signal Brigade commander, march to the stage following the 516th Signal Brigade change of command ceremony, July 3, at historic Palm Circle, Fort Shafter.

Preparing to assume one of the brigade’s most critical missions, Thomas focused his remarks on the ongoing threat of cyber attacks.

“Providing communications to the largest and most complex area of operations in the world is a challenge that we can’t take lightly,” he said. “The increased cyber threats and the growing complexity of C4 (command, control, communications and computers) are real. Every Soldier and civilian is the front line of defense and is a critical part of the keeping the network safe.”

516th Signal Brigade enhances interoperability and deployability of several combat brigades within Hawaii and Alaska by extending the International Security Assistance Force and the Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange networks from the U.S. Central Command theater, by supporting deployment training and by ensuring successful deployments to Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

Thomas served in multiple Signal Corps positions including Joint Staff Support Center JC4 division chief, responsible for the 24×7 operations of the National Military Command Center.

He holds a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering, a Master’s in administrative management, and a Master of Science in national resource strategy from the National Defense University, Dwight D. Eisenhower School of National Security and Resource Strategy, in Washington D.C.

Lt. Col. Melissa Miles, commander, 30th Signal Battalion, salutes (from left) Col. Cleophus Thomas Jr., incoming 516th Signal Brigade commander; host commander, Brig. Gen. Janice Haigler, deputy commanding general, 311th Signal Command (Theater); and Col. Scott Baer, outgoing 516th Signal Brigade commander, during the 516th Signal Brigade change of command. Commander of Troops, Lt. Col. Eulys Shell II, 516th Signal Brigade deputy commander, follows during the inspection of troops, July 3, at historical Palm Circle, Fort Shafter.

Lt. Col. Melissa Miles (center), commander, 30th Signal Battalion, salutes (from left) Col. Cleophus Thomas Jr., incoming 516th Signal Brigade commander; host commander, Brig. Gen. Janice Haigler, deputy commanding general, 311th Signal Command (Theater); and Col. Scott Baer, outgoing 516th Signal Brigade commander, during the 516th Signal Brigade change of command. Commander of Troops, Lt. Col. Eulys Shell II (far left), 516th Signal Brigade deputy commander, follows during the inspection of troops, July 3, at historical Palm Circle, Fort Shafter.

For his exceptional leadership and service from July 2011 to July 2013, Baer was presented the Legion of Merit Award, but he graciously thanked his team for consistent mission accomplishment.

“Outgoing commanders have thanked me for my leadership, guidance and mentorship, but I am actually the one who owes them thanks,” Baer said. “I simply set the conditions and watched our command teams and senior civilians lead, grow and accomplish mission after mission.”

Baer ended his remarks with stifled emotion and characteristic wit: “Voice of the Pacific signing off.”

Baer’s next assignment is commander, White House Communications Agency.

Brig. Gen. Janice Haigler, deputy commanding general, 311th Signal Command (Theater), and the ceremony host commander, called Baer “an exceptional driving force in his command, improving our readiness posture and strengthening relationships between the U.S. and our regional partners.”

“Scott and his team have not only made vast contributions to our success, but also have gone above and beyond to set new standards for this command and the Signal Regiment,” Haigler said.

Of the incoming commander, Haigler said, “We are gaining a truly great leader in Cleo. I’ve heard nothing but great things about his abilities. He respects and values his team, and I have no doubt he will bring great ideas and enthusiasm to the organization.”

During his tenure with the 516th, Baer oversaw two deployments of the 307th Expeditionary Signal Battalion to Afghanistan, all while maintaining garrison level support.

516th Signal Brigade is a forward based major subordinate operations and maintenance command of the 311th Signal Command (Theater), whose mission is to provide and defend the Pacific LandWarNet and expeditionary communications capabilities as part of U.S. Pacific Command’s Theater Information Grid and the Army Enterprise in support of Joint, Combined, and Army Forces, enabling the battle command and information superiority to the warfighter.

The brigade supports the U.S. Army-Pacific and includes battalions in Alaska, Hawaii, mainland Japan and Okinawa.

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Category: Leadership, News

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