STUTTGART, Germany — Today on Washington Square, Patch Barracks, Air Force Maj. Gen. Gregory Lengyel said goodbye to the service members and civilians he led for two years.
Lengyel led Soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and civilians as commander of Special Operations Command Europe.
In traditional military custom, the unit’s colors were passed from U. S. European Command Commander Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti to incoming SOCEUR commander Army Maj. Gen. Mark Schwartz, ending Lengyel’s tenure.
During the ceremony, Lengyel was presented the Defense Superior Service Medal for outstanding leadership during his time as commander. Lengyel will serve next as the Deputy Commander, Joint Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg. NC. Lengyel then came to podium and addressed the SOCEUR service members for the final time.
“This has been one of the toughest, and most rewarding jobs of my career,” said Lengyel. “I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything else in this world.”
He particularly praised all of the sub-components, 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Naval Special Warfare Unit 2, 352nd Special Operations Group, and the SOCEUR Signal Detachment for their dedication and support to the mission. He took time as well to point out four personnel who he felt truly helped carry the mission while he was in command.
Schwartz was introduced as a Special Forces leader with a wealth of expertise and experience. Schwartz has served and led special operations forces in the (Central Command) CENTCOM and (Africa Command) AFRICOM theaters. He was also assigned to NATO Joint Forces Command, Brunsum.
“This command has adopted on its crest the charge, ‘semper preparate’, which is not a statement that you are already prepared, but rather an imperative to continue to prepare,” stated Scaparrotti. “I rely on the readiness and expertise of SOCUER for its operational ability. In short, SOCUER provides Europe and our Nation some of its most dependable forces.”
Schwartz who just left 1st Cavalry Division after serving as the Deputy Commanding General for Manuever stepped up to the podium as the new commanding general of SOCEUR.
“Today is an exceptional day and I am thankful that so many members of the command and our European partners could be in attendance,” said Schwartz. It is a distinct honor and humbling to assume command of SOCEUR today.”