Brig. Gen. Jason E. Kelly is passed the U.S. Army Training Center and Fort Jackson colors by Maj. Gen. John D. Kline, U.S. Army Center for Initial Military Training, charging him with the responsibilities of becoming the installation’s 53rd commanding general. The change of command ceremony was held at Victory Field Aug. 31. 

Fort Jackson welcomes 53rd commanding general

Story, photo by Alexandra Shea, Fort Jackson Public Affairs

Fort Jackson Soldiers, South Carolina and Columbia area senior leaders, Gold Star Families, civilians, and their Family members welcomed Brig. Gen. Jason E. Kelly as the installation’s 53rd commanding general Aug. 31 during a change of command ceremony at Victory Field.

“Today we welcome to the Fort Jackson team another talented officer, Brig. Gen. Jason Kelly,” said Maj. Gen. John D. Kline, U.S. Army Center for Initial Military Training commanding general. “He is an exceptionally qualified officer. His experience includes a stream of strategic and operational assignments including four combat deployments. He is not lacking in the education area either, he has four master’s degrees.”

Kelly, his wife Stephanie and two sons, Jacob and Zachary, moved from Atlanta, where Kelly served as the commanding general of the South Atlantic Division of the Corps of Engineers to become the installation’s newest commanding general.

During the ceremony, Stephanie was presented with a bouquet of yellow roses to welcome her into the post and local community. As the blooms continue to unfold in the coming days, they represent the blossoming of the relationships and bonds she will build within her new community.

“There is no doubt you will find this assignment the most rewarding you will have had thus far in your career,” Kline said to Kelly during his speech’s closing. “There is something very special about transforming America’s youth into Soldiers and then watching their Families share in their joy. I know you will train our future Soldiers hard while also taking care of them just like your Family.”

Kelly rose from his seat to make his comments. As he reached the podium, he took a moment to look and take in the formation before him and then attendees of the ceremony, taking a deep breath before starting.

“To you the devoted men and women who help guarantees that America is protected. Those that ensure peace is preserved, peace through military strength that emanates from this very hallowed ground, thank you,” Kelly said. “Today you transition command, we change commanders. Not because we found one leader to be lacking or less desirable, but because both change and transition are necessary ingredients in our winning formula. It’s how we stay fresh and how we develop. There is no place I would rather be than right here with you at Fort Jackson building readiness for our Army and maintaining a community. There is no place I would rather be than right here at our Army’s flagship training center training, educating and developing Soldiers and leaders who embody and exemplify the Army Values and are ready to fight and win. No place I would rather be than right here in the Midlands engaging in partnership, to enable a high quality of life on and off the installation. For the first time … Victory … Starts here.”

With Kelly’s first command to the formations, the color guard was dismissed bringing the ceremony to a close.

A welcoming reception was held for Kelly and his Family at the NCO Club. Each attendee welcomed the Kelly Family and were treated to refreshments, light snacks and fellowship with one another.