U.S. Army South conducted a change of command ceremony at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, on June 30.
U.S. Navy Admiral Craig S. Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), presided over the ceremony in which U.S. Army Major General Daniel R. Walrath relinquished command to U.S. Army Brigadier General William L. Thigpen.
In keeping with military tradition, Maj. Gen. Walrath relinquished command by passing the colors to Adm. Faller, which symbolized the transfer of responsibility and authority, who then passed them to Brig. Gen. Thigpen, recognizing him as the U.S. Army South (ARSOUTH) commander.
Maj. Gen. Walrath, who will retire after 33 years in uniform, credited the ARSOUTH team for the many accomplishments during his time as commander.
“I am immensely proud of what U.S. Army South has achieved these last two years,” said Maj. Gen. Walrath. “When I arrived here two years ago, I had no experience in the region, so I trusted the experience and expertise in Army South to help me understand what was most important in our mission.”
Adm. Faller recognized Maj. Gen. Walrath for his contributions to strengthening partnerships in the Western Hemisphere, as well as his many accomplishments throughout his career.
“I couldn’t be more proud,” said Adm. Faller as he described Maj. Gen. Walrath’s career. “You pull out the history of our nation’s conflicts and, at the point of attack, each and every time has been Dan Walrath, his command and leadership roles, serving this country selflessly and sacrificing everything for the nation and for the world.”
Adm. Faller explained that ARSOUTH will be in good hands with Brig. Gen. Thigpen in command.
“I know your character and caliber, and I know you’re ready to step forward and meet the challenges we face,” Adm. Faller said to Brig. Gen. Thigpen.
Following his introduction, Brig. Gen. Thigpen expressed his excitement to join ARSOUTH and strengthening regional partnerships.
“It truly is great to be back in the state of Texas, and it’s even better to be back in the state of Texas as a part of U.S. Southern Command and Army South,” said Brig. Gen. Thigpen. “To our partner nations — I look forward to serving with all of you as we continue to build capacity, learn, and train together, successfully defending our respective national interests.”
Brig. Gen. Thigpen most recently served as the deputy director for Operations, National Joint Operations Intelligence Center, Operations Team Four, J-3, Joint Staff at the Pentagon. Originally from Virginia, he earned degrees from Virginia State University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and National Defense University. His career spans nearly three decades and includes command and staff assignments in the United States, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Poland.
ARSOUTH is the Army Service Component Command of SOUTHCOM with an area of responsibility that encompasses 31 countries and 15 areas of special sovereignty in Central and South America, and the Caribbean and covers about 15.6 million square miles.