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Thursday, June 30, 2011

US and AFP Forces Welcome New JSOTF-P Commander

By Joint Special Operations Task Force – Philippines Public Affairs Office

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – U.S. Army Col. Fran Beaudette assumed command of Joint Special Operations Task Force – Philippines (JSOTF-P) from U.S. Navy Capt. Robert Gusentine during a change of command ceremony held at Camp Navarro, Western Mindanao Command June 24.

Beaudette, a 1989 Citadel graduate and Commander of 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), reaffirmed JSOTF-P’s commitment to continuing the partnership and collaboration with the Philippine Security Forces (PSF).

“Colonel Fran Beaudette comes to us as Commander of 1st Special Forces Group. He is a highly effective leader who specializes in teaming with allies and partners to achieve mutual objectives, especially in counterinsurgency environments,” said Commander, Special Operations Command Pacific, Maj. Gen. Norman Brozenick, the ceremony’s guest speaker.

During the ceremony Beaudette congratulated Gusentine on the progress he made while commander.  Beaudette said he is ready to continue the success.

"It is a tremendous honor and privilege to be able to join the men and women of Joint Special Operations Task Force, Philippines, and to serve alongside our exceptional Filipino partners in the fight against terrorism,” said Beaudette during the ceremony.

The Honorable Harry K. Thomas, Jr., U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of the Philippines presided over the ceremony and extended his congratulations to Beaudette. The ambassador also offered the embassy’s continued support to the Armed Forces of the Philippines and to JSOTF-P.

 “You (Beaudette) and JSOTF-P will work side-by-side with our AFP colleagues here in Mindanao, and all through the southern parts of the Philippines, and most importantly with the citizens of the southern Philippines,” Thomas said. “You will be here to continue to demonstrate the United States’ full diplomatic commitment to our allies and our friendship and partnership with the AFP.”  

During the ceremony, Maj. Gen. Renato Sanchez, Commander, 3rd Air Division, presented Gusentine with one of the highest AFP honors for JSOTF-P’s contributions by awarding him the AFP’s Chief of Staff Commendation Medal.  Sanchez commented that while under Gusentine’s command, JSOTF-P supported more than 67 Philippine Special Forces operations targeting violent extremist organizations. The operations led to the Philippine Forces capturing 13 high-valued individuals throughout the southern Philippines.

“Gus, your leadership and council was pivotal to assisting the disruption of the Jemaah Islamiyah and Abu Sayyaf Group networks, denying sanctuaries, capturing high-valued targets and delivering essential goods and services to the people,” said Brozenick.

Additionally, Gusentine led the effort to improve the working relationship between JSOTF-P and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to deliver vital humanitarian assistance to the people of the Southern Philippines.

"Today is really my day to say thank you, for the past 12 months I held the best job in the Navy,” said Gusentine, “and I will never forget it.”

Beaudette said in closing, “It is with great pride that I am able to say that I have joined your ranks and I’m ready to stand shoulder to shoulder in supporting each of your efforts.”

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