U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Roger H. Watkins assumed the position of Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff for NATO's Joint Warfare Centre (JWC) on 3 July 2014 during a ceremony presided over by German Army Major General Erhard Buehler, Commander JWC.
Brigadier General Roger H. Watkins came to the JWC from Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, where he was Commander, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing.
Relinquishing the position he held since 24 July 2012, U.S. Air Force Brigadier General John W. Doucette, JWC's former Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff, will next assume the duties of Inspector General at Headquarters Air Combat Command, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, United States.
JWC bids farewell to Brigadier General Doucette
In his last formal address, Brigadier General Doucette thanked Norway for her gracious hospitality and support as the Host Nation; Major General Buehler for his excellent, forward-looking leadership, and JWC's international staff for their professional competence and loyalty.
He also thanked his wife, Janette, who joined the ceremony, via Skype, from Virginia, and Mrs Suzana Buehler, for their contributions to the local community of Stavanger.
He said: "Any list of accomplishments that I might have had at the JWC was enabled by you all, and by the Commander. Major General Buehler: you are an exceptional Commander and the time I served with you has been phenomenally rewarding: you have empowered me; you have led the JWC with pride and compassion and made us a better and a stronger team. Thank you, again, for your outstanding leadership."
Brigadier General Doucette then expressed his appreciation for the JWC staff. He said: "I have come to work with a smile on my face every day because I get to work with you and watch you perform miracles. You are a phenomenal collection of people: empowered, dedicated, and insightful and you have what it takes to make it all happen, so expect nothing less, and keep performing miracles! I thank each one of you for the enthusiasm you added to the team every day and for practising our 'Professional Values' with such dedication and honesty. There may be some changes as we move ahead and implement a new and highly-capable organizational structure; some things may change, but what won't chance is you. I am proud to have served with you all here at the JWC and I look forward to meeting you in the future."
Following his address, Major General Erhard Buehler expressed great appreciation for Brigadier General Doucette's invaluable contribution to the JWC and thanked him, once again, for his exemplary leadership.
Brigadier General Doucette was then awarded Germany's highest military award, the German Gold Cross of Honour, by Major General Buehler on behalf of the German Minister of Defence, H.E. Dr. Ursula von der Leyen.
A warm welcome to Brigadier General Roger H. Watkins
Welcoming Brigadier General Roger H. Watkins to the JWC, Major General Buehler expressed his best wishes for success and said: "Welcome aboard, Roger. I look forward to working with you as closely as I did with John."
At the podium, Brigadier General Watkins thanked everyone for the welcome given to him and his wife, Leslie, since their arrival to Norway and said he was looking forward to his new role in NATO.
Brigadier General Watkins continued: "I am truly honoured, humbled and thrilled to be chosen to serve with you at the Joint Warfare Centre. My wife and I could not be more excited to be part of our new NATO family and the wonderful host community in Stavanger. I look forward to getting to know each and every one of you and serving with you. I also look forward to learning, in more great detail, the unique capabilities that the JWC has here. I will work with each of you and continue JWC's fantastic work in producing very realistic, comprehensive and high-quality exercises in order to prepare our warfighting customers for all contingencies, which is vital in the world today, and add our share to the further development of a successful Alliance. I am ready to jump in and help the Commander to run this effort."
Check JWC's Facebook page for more pictures of the ceremony: facebook.com/NATO.JWC