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Haas Assumes Command of Special Operations Command Africa
U.S. Army Colonel Christopher K. Haas assumed command of Special Operations Command Africa from Brigadier General Patrick M. Higgins at a change of command ceremony held here yesterday. <br /> <br />Colonel Haas was the Director of the U.S. Special
STUTTGART, Germany - General William E. Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command, pins the Defense Superior Service Medal onto Brigadier General Patrick M. Higgins, commander of Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAFRICA), during a change of command ceremony in Stuttgart, Germany, August 24, 2009. Higgins was relieved by Colonel Christopher K. Haas. This was the fist change of command ceremony for SOCAFRICA, which was established October 1, 2008. (Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel P. Lapierre, U.S. Africa Command)
2 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 1 of 2: STUTTGART, Germany - General William E. Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command, pins the Defense Superior Service Medal onto Brigadier General Patrick M. Higgins, commander of Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAFRICA), during a change of command ceremony in Stuttgart, Germany, August 24, 2009. Higgins was relieved by Colonel Christopher K. Haas. This was the fist change of command ceremony for SOCAFRICA, which was established October 1, 2008. (Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel P. Lapierre, U.S. Africa Command) Download full-resolution version
STUTTGART, Germany - General William E. Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command, presents the Special Operations Command-Africa (SOCAFRICA) colors to Colonel Christopher K. Haas, the new SOCAFRICA commander, during a change of command ceremony at Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart, Germany August 24, 2009. Haas succeeds Brigadier General Patrick M. Higgins. This was the first change of command ceremony for Special Operations Command Africa, which was established October 1, 2008. (Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel P. Lapierre, U.S. Africa Command)
2 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 2 of 2: STUTTGART, Germany - General William E. Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command, presents the Special Operations Command-Africa (SOCAFRICA) colors to Colonel Christopher K. Haas, the new SOCAFRICA commander, during a change of command ceremony at Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart, Germany August 24, 2009. Haas succeeds Brigadier General Patrick M. Higgins. This was the first change of command ceremony for Special Operations Command Africa, which was established October 1, 2008. (Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel P. Lapierre, U.S. Africa Command) Download full-resolution version
STUTTGART, Germany - General William E. Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command, pins the Defense Superior Service Medal onto Brigadier General Patrick M. Higgins, commander of Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAFRICA), during a change of command ceremony in Stuttgart, Germany, August 24, 2009. Higgins was relieved by Colonel Christopher K. Haas. This was the fist change of command ceremony for SOCAFRICA, which was established October 1, 2008. (Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel P. Lapierre, U.S. Africa Command)
STUTTGART, Germany - General William E. Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command, presents the Special Operations Command-Africa (SOCAFRICA) colors to Colonel Christopher K. Haas, the new SOCAFRICA commander, during a change of command ceremony at Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart, Germany August 24, 2009. Haas succeeds Brigadier General Patrick M. Higgins. This was the first change of command ceremony for Special Operations Command Africa, which was established October 1, 2008. (Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel P. Lapierre, U.S. Africa Command)
U.S. Army Colonel Christopher K. Haas assumed command of Special Operations Command Africa from Brigadier General Patrick M. Higgins at a change of command ceremony held here yesterday.

Colonel Haas was the Director of the U.S. Special Operations Command Legislative Affairs office in Washington, D.C. He is a graduate of Duquesne University where he was commissioned through Army ROTC as a second lieutenant in the infantry.

"To all the members of SOCAFRICA, I am in awe of your accomplishments and your professionalism," said Haas, who counts among his awards three Defense Superior Service Medals and a Legion of Merit. "You all have my deepest respect, trust and confidence. And I will, in the coming months, endeavor to earn yours."

General Higgins served as SOCAFRICA's first commander and assumed command of the unit in August 2007 when it was just a transitional headquarters. He said he was extremely proud of the command he will leave behind to become the Director of Special Operations Directorate-Iraq, Multi-National Forces-Iraq.

"Together we built, what I consider, one of the finest teams I have ever been a part of -- a staff of dedicated and talented people who believe in AFRICOM's mission and in an innovative approach to meet the daily challenges of that mission -- a mission of peace, not war," Higgins said. "I have been proud to stand side-by-side with each and every one of you. The important work you do here is making a difference to our nation and to the prosperity, security and freedom of the African people."

General William E. "Kip" Ward, Commander of U.S. Africa Command, presided over the ceremony. He stated in his remarks that Higgins was the right choice to be SOCAFRICA's first commander.

"It was a tall order setting up a theater special operations command, but no question, if you know Pat Higgins, he was up for the task," Ward said. "Under his command, SOCAFRICA today is thriving and doing great things on the African continent. I'm so proud. Congratulations and well done, my friend!"

As SOCAFRICA commander, Haas exercises operational control of Special Operations Forces within the command's area of responsibility, which includes 53 countries and more than 13 million square miles. The primary focus of the command is on Special Operations Forces missions that develop African partner capacity, provide assistance and support theater security cooperation objectives.

"I could not ask for a more perfect commander to come here behind General Higgins and take over SOCAFRICA," Ward added. "Absolutely no doubt, Colonel Haas is the man for the job!"

Colonel Haas is a 24-year Army veteran who has served in multiple Special Operations assignments. He has held command positions as Commander, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C., and served two tours as Commander, Combined Joint Special Operations Task Forces - Afghanistan.

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