Back to News Front

A quiet ceremony

1st Group changes command

Col. Guillaume Beaurpere accepts command of the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) from Brig. Gen. Edwin Deedrick as CSM Shane Shorter and Col. Otto Liller look on. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon

A few minutes before the start of a change of command ceremony last Thursday morning, someone said to Col. Otto Liller, "You know, everyone is here to see that you leave."

Good-natured laughter filled the air, and Liller grinned broadly.

Then it got quiet again as the time to begin the ceremony neared.

Under wind-pushed clouds punctuated with slivers of sunlight, friends, family members and the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) turned out on emerald green Watkins Field to watch as Liller relinquished command to Col. Guillaume Beaurpere.

Like the quiet professionals on the field, the ceremony was understated and to the point.

"The Army got it right today," began Brig. Gen. Edwin Deedrick, commanding general, 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne).

He went on to briefly explain that the Army is comprised not only of the soldiers standing in formation before him, but their families as well.

"Officers respond to a calling, and our spouses and families bear the burden of this."

"We are the Army, and we got it right today," he emphasized as he turned his attention to outgoing commander Liller and incoming commander Beaurpere.

"They are both superb officers and leaders who will continue to do well in their new roles," added Deedrick.

Of recent note during Liller's tenure, the 1st SFG supported the Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq as the CJSOTF-I (Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Iraq) headquarters element.

The group executed mission command of five tactical operations centers and assumed responsibility of a 300-member servicemember coalition force from nine partner nations.

"This is the best Special Forces Group in the Army," said Liller in his brief remarks.

"It has been a privilege and an honor to be here."

Beaurpere opened his remarks with a comment on the weather.

"I am slowly learning the Northwest," he said, "and the fact that we get one quota of sunlight per month."

The joke about the area's climate conditions aside, Beaurpere is no stranger to 1st Group's area of responsibility in the Asia-Pacific region.

He served in the Republic of Korea early in his career and spent a year as a U.S. Army War College visiting fellow to the S. Rajaratam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

His most recent assignment was as deputy commander of Special Operations Joint Task Force-Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

"I will work to sustain this organization's standards, and I stand in awe of the forces we have in the current fight," Beaurpere said.

"To command 1st Group is the greatest honor," he concluded.  "We serve under the banner of quiet professionalism."

Read next close

Military Life

Saving lives one game at a time

comments powered by Disqus