Change of Command for Group Support Company, 19th Special Forces Group

 

Written by Maj. Hank McIntire

Published March 14, 2006

 

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Maj. Phil Swan, left, receives the Group Support Company colors Feb. 12 from Col. Andy Burton, commander of 19th Special Forces Group.

Photo by Maj. Hank McIntire

Maj. Phil Swan, left, receives the Group Support Company colors Feb. 12 from Col. Andy Burton, commander of 19th Special Forces Group.

CAMP WILLIAMS, Utah — Group Support Company, 19th Special Forces Group, Utah National Guard, conducted a change of command Feb. 12 at Camp Williams.

At the ceremony, Maj. James Slagowski officially relinquished command to Maj. Phil Swan.

Slagowski, a 20-year veteran in the Utah Guard, had commanded the company since November 2003. During his tenure he and the majority of his unit served in Afghanistan in 2003-2004 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

With a steady focus on training in combat skills, crew-served weapons and base defense, Slagowski is proud of what he and his Soldiers were able to accomplish together.

“I have loved working with these young Soldiers. I’ve been in a position to influence them for the rest of their careers,” he said. “It’s rewarding to think that I’ve given them something that will have an impact on them 30 years down the road.”

“It’s been a golden command. I hope I can keep contributing. My wife has always been very supportive of me, and my employer, Bank of American Fork, has also given me tremendous support.” Slagowski added.

“I’m proud of him and proud to be a military wife,” said Slagowski’s wife Tammy. “We went out and watched him jump yesterday. I get a patriotic feeling when I go to his Guard activities. It’s a sacrifice, but it’s worth it.”

Maj. James Slagowski, left, receives the Meritorious Service Medal from Col. Andy Burton for his service as Group Support Company commander.

Photo by Maj. Hank McIntire

Maj. James Slagowski, left, receives the Meritorious Service Medal from Col. Andy Burton for his service as Group Support Company commander.

Swan assumes command of more than 170 Soldiers. He spent 17 years in the Special Forces and is returning to his green-beret roots after being assigned in Recruiting and Military Intelligence for the last three years.

“Maj. Slagowski has done a great job. It’s some big shoes to fill,” Swan said. “I’m excited to come back and work with these young warriors, and I appreciate the faith and confidence [19th Special Forces Group commander] Col. Burton has in me.” 

“Command is like a marriage; you have rules you have to follow. I either report to the Group commander or my wife,” he added with a wink.

Looking forward to a new experience as her husband takes command of the company, Swan’s wife Susan has a sense of humor equal to her husband’s.

“I asked him if I could complain and he said no, so I won’t complain.” Then she added on a serious note, “I’m excited and our family will be here to support him.”

Maj. Phil Swan, right, speaks to Group Support Company Soldiers for the first time as their commander Feb. 12.

Photo by Maj. Hank McIntire

Maj. Phil Swan, right, speaks to Group Support Company

Soldiers for the first time as their commander Feb. 12.

Maj. James Slagowski, right, prepares to send his Soldiers out the door of a UH-60 helicopter on his last day as their commander Feb. 11.

Photo by Maj. Hank McIntire

Maj. James Slagowski, right, prepares to send his Soldiers out the door of a UH-60 helicopter on his last day as their commander Feb. 11.