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Change of Command Ceremony
Col. Stammer takes command,
Brig. Gen. Bills transfers to U.S. Army Europe

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Col. Mark R. Stammer accepts the Joint Task Force North colors from Lt. Gen. Guy C. Swan III, right, commanding general of U.S. Army North, during a change of command ceremony conducted Sept. 9.  Brig. Gen. Michael A. Bills, second from right, the out-going JTF North commanding general, and Command Sgt. Maj. David D. Wood, left, U.S. Army North command sergeant major, participated in the ceremony.  As an element of U.S. Northern Command, JTF North is under the operational control of U.S. Army North.  
(Photos by Edd Natividad – JTF North)

 

By Armando Carrasco - JTF North Public Affairs

Brig. Gen. Michael A. Bills relinquished command of Joint Task Force North to Col. Mark R. Stammer during a change of command ceremony conducted Sept. 9 at the task force’s headquarters at East Fort Bliss.

“Through Mike Bills’ leadership and vision, Joint Task Force North continues to be those quiet professionals providing military support to law enforcement agencies in the conduct of counterdrug/counter-narco-terrorism operations in the U.S. Northern Command area of responsibility – all with the goal of disrupting transnational criminal organizations and deterring their freedom of action in order to protect the homeland,” said Lt. Gen. Guy C. Swan III, commanding general of U.S. Army North and Fort Sam Houston, Texas, who hosted the ceremony.

“The great [JTF North] folks do not seek the headlines, but rather measure their success by the success of those they support,” said Swan. As an element of U.S. Northern Command, JTF North is under the operational control of U.S. Army North.

Bills, who had commanded the task force since June 2010, said, “As the JTF North commander, I have witnessed the continual evolution and transformation of our mission and the endless successes that this organization has achieved over the past 14 months. I am especially proud of our efforts to support interagency unity of effort, enhance law enforcement’s effectiveness by building partner capacity, the contribution that we have made to build intelligence architecture in the homeland, and our evolving role in the U.S. Northern Command and U.S. Army North Theater Security Cooperation between U.S. law enforcement and Mexican military and law enforcement agencies.

“As we prepare to depart El Paso, Fort Bliss, and JTF North, I do so with full confidence that this unique relationship between the military and law enforcement will continue to evolve in a mutually beneficial manner in the years to come,” added Bills, who is en route to Heidelberg, Germany, to serve as the deputy chief of staff for Operations, Plans and Policy at United States Army Europe and Seventh Army.

After accepting command of JTF North, Stammer said, “It’s a great day to be a Soldier and especially a great day to assume stewardship of this renowned organization.

“The men and women of JTF North represent a commitment to excellence established by the many thousands of tremendous Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and dedicated civilians who vowed long ago to defend our country from all threats, foreign and domestic, and they bear their traditions and standards proudly,” concluded Stammer, who has been nominated for promotion to brigadier general.

“We will stand united in our commitment to our law enforcement partners’ relentless efforts to secure our homeland and safeguard our citizens,” said Stammer, who previously served as the commander of the Joint Readiness Training Center Operations Group, Fort Polk, La.

Stammer, who was born in Redfield, S.D., enlisted in the Army in 1982 and served at Fort Benning, Ga., and Fort Hood, Texas. He was honorably discharged in January 1985 to attend the University of Houston.

After commissioning and graduation, he returned to active duty and has served in numerous student, command and staff assignments at Fort Benning, Fort Carson, Colo.; Fort Bragg, N.C.; Hohenfels, Germany; Fort Leavenworth, Kan.; Washington D.C.; Afghanistan; Vicenza, Italy; Newport, R.I.; Iraq; and Fort Polk.

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Col. Mark R. Stammer

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Gen. Charles H. Jacoby, Jr., commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command, congratulates Brig. Gen. Michael A. Bills, after presenting the out-going JTF North commanding general with the Department of Defense Superior Service Medal.

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Gen. Charles H. Jacoby, Jr., commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command, presents, the Outstanding Civilian Service Medal certificate to Megan Bills, wife of Brig. Gen. Michael A. Bills. Megan Bills was recognized for her contributions to both JTF North and Fort Bliss communities.

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Donna Stammer, center, wife of Col. Mark R. Stammer, right, the new JTF North commander, is presented with a dozen yellow roses by Staff Sgt. Robert Sangster. The traditional yellow roses are presented to the incoming commander's spouse during her introduction and welcoming to the task force and Fort Bliss communities.