The Training Site Detachment at the Joint Forces Training Base (JFTB) in Los Alamitos celebrated a change of command as Lieutenant Colonel Joel Armstrong passed the reins to LTC Kenneth Koop in a ceremony at the Base Headquarters on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015.
Presiding Official Brigadier General Sylvia Crockett, Land Component Commander for the California Army National Guard, praised LTC Armstrong for his dedication and efforts to forge and maintain strong ties between the JFTB and the surrounding communities. LTC Armstrong, who is also the commandant of Sunburst Youth ChalleNGe Academy at the Base, has served in the armed forces for thirty years. He will remain with Sunburst, which provided the honor guard (seen above in the featured photo) for the ceremony on Oct. 3.
Taking over in command of the Training Detachment is a fellow officer whom LTC Armstrong described as a good friend, LTC Kenneth Koop. LTC Koop was commissioned in the United States Army in 1992 through the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps at the University of California, Davis, in 1992 and later joined the California Army National Guard in 1996. He has been awarded the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, and numerous other awards, medals, and commendations through his service.
LTC Koop, after earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from UC Davis, attended the University of Southern California and achieved a Masters in Business for Veterans. He and his wife Mai have been married for 16 years and have two children. His most recent assignment was Director of Plans, Training, Mobilization, and Security for Camp Roberts Maneuver Training Center near San Luis Obispo. He also serves as the Commandant at Oakland Military Institute College Preparatory Academy.
The Training Site Detachment at the Joint Forces Training Base may be small, but it has a very important and vital mission on the Base:
“Command and Operate the Installation; manage and administer the use and resources; provide administrative, training and logistical support to assigned, attached and tenant units and activities; prepare to expand and operate as a separate installation upon mobilization.”
Since its inception as the HQ Installation Support Unit in 1979, the Detachment has provided its support and resources during numerous major events, from the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles to the LA Riots to the Race on the Base and Wings, Wheels, Rotors and Expo.
The change of command ceremony itself is fairly simple but rich with meaning. The Detachment’s guidon (pronounced GUY-dun), a small flag with their “colors”, is ceremoniously passed by the senior non-commissioned officer to the outgoing commander. The outgoing commander then passes it to the presiding official, who gives it to the incoming commander. As a symbol of his trust, the incoming commander then passes it back to the senior non-commissioned officer.
The change of command ceremony for the Joint Forces Training Base Training Site Detachment on October 3, 2015. The Sunshine Brigade from Sunburst Youth ChalleNGe Academy served as color guard. Photos by Katie Wiedel.