Saturday, 25 June 2011 12:36
Col. Francis Beaudette took over the top command of the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) in a change of command ceremony yesterday held at Camp Navarro in Upper Calarian.
Capt. Robert Gusentine passed the reigns as JSOTF-P commander to Beaudette witnessed by US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas Jr., Maj. Gen. Norman Brozenick, Jr., commander of the Special Operations Command Pacific, and Usec. Edilberto Adan, VFA director.
Beaudette previously served as an armor platoon leader and intelligence officer. He has participated in Operations Desert Shield/Storm, Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom-Afghanistan, and Enduring Freedom-Trans Sahara.
In his new assignment, Beaudette will lead some 600 JSOTF-P personnel from all four military services, including Army Special Operations Forces, Navy Seals, Air Force special operators and a host of support personnel from all four US military services.
JSOTF-P has its headquarters element, located at Camp Navarro, Zamboanga City and three subordinate regional task forces which operate throughout Mindanao.
Its Task Force Archipelago is based at Camp Navarro, Zamboanga del Sur Province; Task Force Mindanao, based at Camp Siongco, Maguindanao; and Task Force Sulu which is based at Camp Bautista in Jolo.
In an interview, Ambassador Thomas said they have every confidence that JSOTF-P under Col. Beaudette will continue to support the Armed Forces of the Philippines' (AFPs) fight against terrorism and lawless in southern Philippines.
At the request of the Philippine government, JSOTF-P works alongside the AFP in a strictly non-combat role to defeat terrorists, eliminate safe havens and create the conditions necessary for peace, stability and prosperity in Mindanao.
Meanwhile, WesMinCom chief Lt. Gen. Raymundo Ferrer, through a representative, expressed their gratitude to Captain Gusentine who has performed a great service to the WesMinCom especially in bringing humanitarian assistance to conflict affected communities here.
Also Undersecretary Adan said that he was sent by the Office of the President and the Visiting Forces Commission to give their appreciation and honor to an oustanding US Army officer.
"Captain Gusentine has served the Filipino nation and the US armed forces very well and has contributed through his creativity in planning, joint activities, exercises, training to help restore peace in southern Philippines," he said.
By Hader Glang
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