Jackie Edwards receives a bouquet of yellow roses during her husband’s assumption of command ceremony Aug. 2 at the Soldier Support Institute. Col. Jason T. Edwards assumed command of the Soldier Support Institute from acting Commander Col. Cort J. Hunt. (Photo by Alexandra Shea)

Newest SSI commander finds himself ‘exactly where I want to be’

By Alexandra Shea, Fort Jackson Public Affairs

Soldier Support Institute Soldiers, cadre and civilians welcomed Col. Jason T. Edwards as he assumed command of the unit during a ceremony Aug. 2 held at the institute’s auditorium.

The institute’s Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony Wilson passed the colors from Col. Cort J. Hunt, the institutes’ acting commander, to Maj. Gen. Mark T. Simerly, commanding general of the Combined Arms Support Command, the Sustainment Center of Excellence and Fort Lee, Virginia, symbolizing the transfer of command responsibilities. Simerly then passed the colors to Edwards charging him with those responsibilities.

“Col. Edwards has demonstrated the talents and skills necessary to lead this great organization,” Simerly said. “He has served and excelled in all the tough assignments. I have no doubt that you are the right leader, at the right time, at the right place for this organization.”

Edward’s wife smiled broadly as her husband stood to address the attendees both in-person and tuning in through Facebook Live. He thanked many of his Family members in attendance to include his father Thomas J. Edwards who served as a helicopter door gunner during Vietnam.

“I was a sergeant when I flew in a UH-1 (Iroquois) helicopter in Vietnam in 1967 and 1968,” said Thomas J. Edwards. “I could care less if he outranks me, I’m just so proud of him.”

The senior Edwards plays cards every Tuesday with his 4th grade friends who all deployed to Vietnam and explained how glad he is that his son will experience the camaraderie and strong bonds Soldiers share.

“As mentioned, my dad was a door gunner. The helicopter that he signed for in 1967 is now on display in Fort Rucker, Alabama,” Col. Edwards said. “So #roadtrip. We are going to make that trip dad, I promise.”

After thanking friends and family, Col. Edwards addressed the institute’s Soldiers and staff.

“I am extremely honored to lead the Soldier Support Institute,” Col. Edwards said. “I look forward to sustaining the lasting relationships forged by my predecessors. Diligently pursuing unity of effort among all organizations both at Fort Lee, Virginia, and Fort Jackson. This is exactly where I want to be.”

The ceremony concluded with a reception held in the institute library where attendees welcomed Col. Edwards and his family and were treated to a spread of light hors d’oeuvres and drinks.