|FAMU President James H. Ammons passes the Rattler Battalion to Major Joseph Kelly during the changing of the guard.|
April 29, 2011TALLAHASSEE, Fla
. – Gathered at the Eternal Flame, Florida A&M University’s (FAMU) Army ROTC hosted its Change of Command ceremony, as the Rattler Battalion said farewell to the outgoing commander Lt. Col. Jeffery Williams and welcomed incoming commander Major Joseph Kelly.
The cadets of FAMU Army ROTC, the Marching “100,” along with friends and family of both officers shared an emotional moment with Lt. Col. Williams as he reflected on the dedication and passion innate in the college cadets he has worked with throughout his tenure at FAMU.
Williams came to FAMU in July 2008 as the professor of military science. After serving a three-year term and passing the FAMU ROTC commanding torch to Major Kelly, Lt. Col. Williams, his wife and three sons will relocate to Washington, D.C. for a position at the Pentagon.
“This is emotional for me because it deals with lives and changing lives,” said Lt. Col. Williams. “When I see young people come into the destiny that God has for them and the purpose, it makes me emotional. We have some young people who are doing some great things, and being able to watch that brings me to tears.”
During the ceremony, FAMU President James H. Ammons thanked Lt. Col. Williams for his leadership, passion and dedication to not only the FAMU Army cadets, but also the country.
“This ceremony is a proud and honored tradition of the U.S. military. Although this historically signifies the transfer of leadership from one officer to another, this moment at FAMU signifies a moment of great pride,” said Ammons. “I want to congratulate Lt. Col. Williams for the outstanding work he has accomplished during his duty here on the “Hill,” and you will always be cherished by Rattlers.”
Receiving the Rattler Battalion, Major Kelly’s wife was given a dozen yellow roses representing friendship and a warm welcome from the battalion, his daughter was given a single yellow rose and two sons were given a coin.
“This is an honor and privilege,” said Major Kelly. “Lt. Col. Williams has done an outstanding job building up what we have here today, that is why he was so emotional during his presentation; he really put his heart and soul into these cadets and they returned the favor by producing, exceeding and excelling in what they do.”
In 1987, Lt. Col. Williams enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves as a personnel management specialist. In 1991, he was commissioned into the Signal Corps and branched detailed into the Field Artillery Corps as a Distinguished Military Graduate from Lamar University located in Beaumont, Texas with a bachelor’s of science in criminal justice. He also was assigned to the 36th Signal Battalion in Camp Walker, South Korea. In November 2002, he was assigned to the 4th Infantry Division Support Command located in Fort Hood, Texas as the brigade S6 and deputy G6 for support. From August 2005 through June 2008, Lt. Col. Williams served in a joint assignment as the systems branch chief of USSTRATCOM JFCC-ISR where he was the recipient of the U.S. Strategic Command Field Grade Officer of the Year Award in 2006.
Major Kelly, a native of Washington, D.C., has traveled across the country as a military dependent including Germany, Korea and Eustis, Va. His first assignment was to Mannheim, Germany as a platoon leader and company executive officer in the 68th and 70th Transportation Companies within the 28th Transportation Battalion. After completing his initial assignment he attended the Combined Logistics Officer Advance Course located in Fort Lee, Va. Later he was tasked to be the 7th Provisional Battalion S3, which comprised more than 2,000 soldiers. Further along in his military career, he was selected to become the executive officer and support operations officer of the 536D Aviation Support Battalion, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade.
Lt. Col. Williams closed his remarks with a final chant to the cadets, “Committed to excellence.”
“Second to none,” replied the cadets.
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