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Army Col. George K. Washington became the new commander Thursday of the 20th Area Support Group, a unit in Taegu, South Korea, responsible for wartime supply, maintenance and transportation support to forces in the lower third of the country.

Washington took command during a parade-ground ceremony on Camp Walker’s Kelly Field in Taegu.

He replaces Col. James M. “Mike” Joyner, who commanded the unit — a two-year assignment — since July 2002. Joyner is to become chief of staff at the U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM) at Fort Lee, Va.

Washington comes to Taegu from CASCOM, where he directed Combat Developments Transportation.

Since October, Joyner also commanded the newly activated Area IV Support Activity, which runs U.S. Army installations in lower South Korea. It takes in Camp Henry and Camp Walker in Taegu, Camp Carroll in Waegwan and Camp Hialeah in Pusan. Col. Donald Hendrix, currently assigned to Headquarters, U.S. Army, Europe and 7th U.S. Army, is slated to take command of the Area IV Support Activity.

During Joyner’s tenure in Taegu, a partnership between the 20th Area Support Group and the South Korean Army’s 501st Brigade was established, as was a five-day “English camp” for 11th graders from Taegu city high schools.

Joyner also started a community relations council with Korean community leaders from Taegu to forge improved relations between the U.S. military and the Korean public.

Quality-of-life improvements during Joyner’s tenure included 29 projects — among them barracks renovation or new construction — that went forward at a total cost of more than $100 million.

“This is a truly bittersweet day for me,” Joyner said during the 40-minute ceremony, which began under overcast skies around 9 a.m. and ended in sunshine. “I’m gratified by what has been accomplished the past two years but I’m also sad to be leaving all of you.”

Washington said he was “charged and ready” for “the challenge of command and the opportunity to lead soldiers.”

A native of King William, Va., Washington was commissioned in the Army’s Transportation Corps in 1979 after graduating from Virginia State University. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration, the graduate degree from Saint Martin’s College.

His military education includes graduation from the Army Command and General Staff College and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, where he earned a master’s degree in national resource strategy.

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