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During the change of command ceremony Friday morning at Camp Humpreys in South Korea, Army Col. Michael J. Taliento Jr., facing camera, hands garrison colors to Brig. Gen. Al Aycock, director of U.S. Army Installation Management Command Korea.

During the change of command ceremony Friday morning at Camp Humpreys in South Korea, Army Col. Michael J. Taliento Jr., facing camera, hands garrison colors to Brig. Gen. Al Aycock, director of U.S. Army Installation Management Command Korea. (Andre D. Butler / Courtesy of U.S. Army)

CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea — The U.S. Army officer who led the Camp Humphreys garrison since June 2004 — an intense time in its high-profile expansion — relinquished command Friday.

Col. Michael J. Taliento Jr. is headed to Seoul to become special assistant to U.S. Forces Korea commander Gen. B.B. Bell.

Succeeding Taliento in the politically sensitive job is Col. John E. Dumoulin Jr., who assumed command at Humphreys after serving since July in Area III as commander of U.S. Army Garrison-Daegu.

Dumoulin was “hand-picked” for the Humphreys commander’s job, Brig. Gen. Al Aycock, commander of the U.S. Army Installation Command Korea, said during remarks at Friday’s ceremony.

“The master plan for the future expansion of Camp Humphreys will be an incredible undertaking,” Dumoulin said. “I will be your No. 1 advocate and your No. 1 ambassador.”

The Humphreys garrision is responsible for day-to-day operations at U.S. military installations in Pyeongtaek, Suwon and Wonju.

The position has become especially key in the past several years as Humphreys works toward tripling in size, with plans calling for expansion onto thousands of acres of nearby land provided by the South Korean government.

The project touched off large-scale and often violent protests in 2005 and 2006 by anti-U.S. activists who oppose the expansion and the U.S. military presence on the peninsula.

The expansion amounts to “probably the largest base transformation I’ve witnessed in my entire career,” Aycock said.

Taliento should be proud because he and his staff had accomplished “a staggering number of major construction projects, force protection initiatives, and quality of life improvements,” Aycock said.

“Mike had the vision, the initiative, the drive to make all this happen,” the general said during the ceremony. “He has been known to use the phrase, ‘We need to show them what right looks like.’ Well, Mike, as we look around Camp Humphreys today, this is what right looks like.”

In his farewell remarks, Taliento said “there was no shortage of significant events, which have forever marked the face of change here at Humphreys Garrison and the future of the ROK-U.S. Alliance.”

“I believe these three years can be defined and characterized by one simple word: change,” he said.

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