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U.S. Army soldiers attending the 5th Signal Command change of command salute during the playing of the German and U.S. national anthems.
U.S. Army soldiers attending the 5th Signal Command change of command salute during the playing of the German and U.S. national anthems. (Joshua L. DeMotts/Stars and Stripes)
U.S. Army soldiers attending the 5th Signal Command change of command salute during the playing of the German and U.S. national anthems.
U.S. Army soldiers attending the 5th Signal Command change of command salute during the playing of the German and U.S. national anthems. (Joshua L. DeMotts/Stars and Stripes)
U.S. Army Col. Mitchell Kilgo, foreground, center left; Command Sgt. Maj. Gerald Tyce, holding flag; Brig. Gen. Bruce Crawford, partially hidden; and Lt. Gen. Donald Campbell, with back to camera, pass the colors during the 5th Signal Command change-of-command ceremony Friday, June 7, 2013, in Wiesbaden, Germany.
U.S. Army Col. Mitchell Kilgo, foreground, center left; Command Sgt. Maj. Gerald Tyce, holding flag; Brig. Gen. Bruce Crawford, partially hidden; and Lt. Gen. Donald Campbell, with back to camera, pass the colors during the 5th Signal Command change-of-command ceremony Friday, June 7, 2013, in Wiesbaden, Germany. (Joshua L. DeMotts/Stars and Stripes)
U.S. Army Col. Mitchell Kilgo, left, and Brig. Gen. Bruce Crawford take their seat as the presiding officer, Lt. Gen. Donald Campbell, makes remarks at the 5th Signal Command's change-of-command ceremony Friday, June 7, 2013, in Wiesbaden, Germany.
U.S. Army Col. Mitchell Kilgo, left, and Brig. Gen. Bruce Crawford take their seat as the presiding officer, Lt. Gen. Donald Campbell, makes remarks at the 5th Signal Command's change-of-command ceremony Friday, June 7, 2013, in Wiesbaden, Germany. (Joshua L. DeMotts/Stars and Stripes)
U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Bruce Crawford kisses his wife, Dianne, during the 5th Signal Command change-of-command ceremony Friday, June 7, 2013, in Wiesbaden, Germany.
U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Bruce Crawford kisses his wife, Dianne, during the 5th Signal Command change-of-command ceremony Friday, June 7, 2013, in Wiesbaden, Germany. (Joshua L. DeMotts/Stars and Stripes)
U.S. Army Col. Mitchell Kilgo addresses the troops after assuming command of the 5th Signal Command Friday, June 7, 2013, in Wiesbaden, Germany.
U.S. Army Col. Mitchell Kilgo addresses the troops after assuming command of the 5th Signal Command Friday, June 7, 2013, in Wiesbaden, Germany. (Joshua L. DeMotts/Stars and Stripes)
Lt. Gen. Donald Campbell, center, and Col. Mitchell Kilgo shake hands during the 5th Signal change-of-command ceremony Friday, June 7, 2013. Kilgo assumed command of the unit from Brig. Gen. Bruce Crawford, left, during a ceremony in Wiesbaden, Germany.
Lt. Gen. Donald Campbell, center, and Col. Mitchell Kilgo shake hands during the 5th Signal change-of-command ceremony Friday, June 7, 2013. Kilgo assumed command of the unit from Brig. Gen. Bruce Crawford, left, during a ceremony in Wiesbaden, Germany. (Joshua L. DeMotts/Stars and Stripes)
U.S. Army Col. Mitchell Kilgo prepares to salute the soldiers of the 5th Signal Command for the first time as their commander Friday, June 7, 2013, in Wiesbaden, Germany.
U.S. Army Col. Mitchell Kilgo prepares to salute the soldiers of the 5th Signal Command for the first time as their commander Friday, June 7, 2013, in Wiesbaden, Germany. (Joshua L. DeMotts/Stars and Stripes)
U.S. Army Col. Mitchell Kilgo and one of his sons hold hands after the 5th Signal Command change-of-command ceremony Friday, June 7, 2013, in Wiesbaden, Germany.
U.S. Army Col. Mitchell Kilgo and one of his sons hold hands after the 5th Signal Command change-of-command ceremony Friday, June 7, 2013, in Wiesbaden, Germany. (Joshua L. DeMotts/Stars and Stripes)
U.S. Army Col. Mitchell Kilgo hugs a friend after assuming command of the 5th Signal Command in Wiesbaden, Germany, on Friday, June 7, 2013.
U.S. Army Col. Mitchell Kilgo hugs a friend after assuming command of the 5th Signal Command in Wiesbaden, Germany, on Friday, June 7, 2013. (Joshua L. DeMotts/Stars and Stri)
The USAREUR Band and Chorus' brass quintet provided music for the 5th Signal Command change-of-command ceremony Friday, June 7, 2013, in Wiesbaden, Germany.
The USAREUR Band and Chorus' brass quintet provided music for the 5th Signal Command change-of-command ceremony Friday, June 7, 2013, in Wiesbaden, Germany. (Joshua L. DeMotts/Stars and Stripes)
From left, U.S. Army Col. Mitchell Kilgo, Lt. Gen. Donald Campbell and Brig. Gen. Bruce Crawford salute the soldiers of the 5th Signal Command during the change-of-command ceremony Friday, June 7, 2013, in Wiesbaden, Germany.
From left, U.S. Army Col. Mitchell Kilgo, Lt. Gen. Donald Campbell and Brig. Gen. Bruce Crawford salute the soldiers of the 5th Signal Command during the change-of-command ceremony Friday, June 7, 2013, in Wiesbaden, Germany. (Joshua L. DeMotts/Stars and Stripes)
From left, U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Bruce Crawford, Lt. Gen. Donald Campbell and Col. Mitchell Kilgo inspect the troops of the 5th Signal Command during the change-of-command ceremony Friday, June 7, 2013, in Wiesbaden, Germany.
From left, U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Bruce Crawford, Lt. Gen. Donald Campbell and Col. Mitchell Kilgo inspect the troops of the 5th Signal Command during the change-of-command ceremony Friday, June 7, 2013, in Wiesbaden, Germany. (Joshua L. DeMotts/Stars and Stripes)

WIESBADEN, Germany — After turning over leadership of the Army’s largest active-duty theater signal command, Brig. Gen. Bruce T. Crawford stood for more than an hour Friday until the last in a long procession of well-wishers had left.

Hundreds of soldiers, civilians and family members gathered for the change-of-command ceremony on the artificial turf of the Newman Housing soccer field on Clay Kaserne, as the 5th Signal Command welcomed Col. Mitchell L. Kilgo and gave its outgoing leader a proper farewell.

“I am thrilled to be joining the ranks of the finest theater signal command in our Army, both in reputation and in deed,” Kilgo said, pledging to treat the command’s 4,200 soldiers and civilians, who are assigned throughout Europe, “with dignity and respect.”

“Together, we will deliver everything this theater and our Army demands,” he said.

That’s likely to be a tall order. The command is responsible for the majority of communications support to U.S. Army forces in Europe and Africa and is spearheading a Defense Department initiative to combine and consolidate the communications networks of U.S. European Command, U.S. Africa Command and the Army service components “into one seamless, robust network,” said Lt. Gen. Donald M. Campbell Jr.

Campbell, commander of U.S. Army Europe, was the ceremony’s presiding officer.

“You’re no stranger to Wiesbaden,” Campbell told Kilgo, who a year ago departed Wiesbaden after nearly two years of commanding the 2nd Theater Strategic Signal Brigade, one of two brigades in Germany comprising 5th Signal Command.

In between that assignment and his current one, Kilgo worked in Stuttgart, where he was executive officer for former AFRICOM commander Gen. Carter F. Ham and the current commander, Gen. David M. Rodriguez.

Stuttgart is Crawford’s next destination, where he’s been assigned to work for EUCOM as the command’s chief communications officer, J-6, the highest communications billet in Europe for all of the services, said Kristopher Joseph, a 5th Signal Command spokesman.

“It has truly been an honor and a privilege to have been counted in your ranks and included as a part of your family here in this special place on God’s green Earth called Europe,” Crawford said.

Kilgo is the 20th commander of the 5th Signal Command. The billet was recently reduced to a colonel’s slot, Joseph said, as part of other senior leadership billet downgrades within USAREUR.

The unit was activated in 1974 on Kilbourne Kaserne in Schwetzingen.

svan.jennifer@stripes.com

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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