Col. Aaron J. Southard

Colonel Aaron J. Southard is the commander of U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach, consisting of nine kasernes with the mission of integrating and delivering base support to enable the readiness and force projection of permanent and rotational forces for U.S. Army Europe-Africa.

Col. Southard enlisted in the Army in 1996 as a combat medic and surgical technician. He later attended ROTC training at the University of Texas at Arlington and was commissioned as an Artillery Officer. His first commissioned assignment was with the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment at Giessen, Germany, serving as a Company Fire Support Officer, Combat Observation and Lazing Team Platoon Leader, and Battery Platoon Leader, deploying with the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In 2005, Col. Southard attended the Captain’s Career Course at Ft. Moore, GA, and the Information Operations Officer Course. He was assigned to the 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, serving as the Brigade Information Operations Officer, deploying in support of I and II Marine Expeditionary Forces in the Anbar Province of Iraq.

In 2009, Col. Southard completed the U.S. Army Special Warfare Center and School Psychological Operations Qualification Course and was assigned to the 8th Battalion, 4th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne), where he served as a Detachment Commander deploying to Qatar, Pakistan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, and multiple other countries in the USCENTCOM region in support of USSOCOM and USCENTCOM missions.

His other assignments include Assistant Battalion S3 2nd Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, Battalion, and Battalion S3 and XO for 8th POB, 4POG. Col. Southard served as the J3 for Special Operations Command Forward, Beirut, Lebanon, and as the Psychological Operations subject matter expert in the Commander’s Initiative Group for the Commander, US Army Special Warfare Center and School, Ft. Liberty. From 2015 to 2018, Col. Southard served as the Psychological Operations planner for the US Army Africa, Vicenza, Italy. Upon return to Ft Liberty in 2018, he served as the Group XO for the 8th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne). From 2019 to 2021, Col. Southard commanded the 9th Psychological Operations Battalion. In 2022, he served as the USSOCCENT Information Warfare Task Force – Central Commander and was the 4POG Deputy Commanding Officer before attending senior service college.

Col. Southard is a graduate of the U.S. Army Artillery Officer Basic Course, Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, Infantry Captains Career Course, Ft. Moore, GA, Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and US Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania.

Col. Southard’s awards include the Bronze Star Medal (1 Oak Leaf Cluster), Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal (with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters), Army Commendation Medal (with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters), Army Achievement Medal (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters), Humanitarian Assistance Medal and Parachutist Badge, Combat Action Badge, and Italian Jump Wings.