On a beautiful Fort Huachuca morning, June 28 on historic Brown Parade Field, the Human Intelligence Training Joint Center of Excellence welcomed its new commander, Col. John Boucher and celebrated the career and service of retiring, outgoing commander, Col. John Szypko.
Prior to the ceremony, the spouses and family of the outgoing and incoming commanders were presented with flowers and gifts. Szypkoâ€™s wife, Pia received a bouquet of red roses to symbolize her dedicated service to the Soldiers, Marines, civilians and Families of HT-JCOE, and the Sierra Vista community; and a gift was presented to Szypkoâ€™s son Filip. The incoming commanderâ€™s wife Jill received a bouquet of yellow roses, then flowers were presented to Szypkoâ€™s sisters Paula, Marsha and Jane, and Boucherâ€™s mother Veronica. A gift was presented to Szypkoâ€™s brother Mark.
The change of command marks the passing of the unit colors from one commander to another, transferring all authority and responsibility for the unit. In keeping with this military and Army tradition, HT-JCOEâ€™s outgoing commander Szypko passed the unit colors to presiding officer, Maj. Gen. Gregg Potter, commanding general, United States Army Intelligence Center of Excellence and Fort Huachuca, officially relinquishing command and responsibilities. The colors were then passed to Boucher, who formally assumed command of HT-JCOE.
During his remarks, Boucher praised the work and accolades of the unit he inherited from Szypko and looked ahead. â€œAssuming command of this elite organization is a challenge I look forward to taking. Through cooperation, collaboration and transparency with our partners in the community HUMIT, â€¦ advanced HUMIT training will continue to evolve to support future operations in support of the Defense HUMIT Enterprise. This command will continue to emulate the United States Armyâ€™s values,â€ Boucher said.
Boucher comes to HT-JCOE from the Armed Forces Experimental Training Activity where he was a senior military instructor. Throughout his career, Boucher has served in both tactical and strategic levels. He has deployed twice to the Balkans, twice to Afghanistan, served as the assistant army attachÃ© in Rabat, Morocco, and commanded a sensitive collections unit in Baghdad, Iraq. Boucher is joined by his wife, the former Jill Ann Koppien and their two sons, Jack and James.
Boucherâ€™s remarks formally concluded the change of command ceremony, officially beginning the retirement ceremony for Szypko.
During the retirement ceremony Potter presented Szypko with his retirement orders, a United States flag flown over Brown Parade Field, and a certificate of appreciation from President Barack Obama. His wife Pia received a certificate of appreciation from U.S. Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Raymond Odierno and the Commandâ€™s Award from Potter.
Potter praised Szypko for his 28 years of service.
â€œJohn you have proudly served our country for nearly three decades, encompassing multiple deployments and assignments that span the vast globe. Throughout your tenure in the armed service, you have worked tirelessly to ensure the safety of our Soldiers and allies. You are a leader whose resolve never wavered in spite of the many challenges of war and the growing responsibility of your rank,â€ Potter said.
An emotional Szypko thanked all attendees and expressed his appreciation for those who have served under his command at HT-JCOE. Then he offered a tearful message to his wife Pia.
â€œYou always provided us a home, no matter where the Army sent us these past 22 years. You always told me what I needed to hear whether I wanted to or not. You were always ready to learn what needed to be done when I was not around; and you have the gentlest, warmest heart of any person I know,â€ Szypko said.
Szypko retires after 28 years of service. He earned his commission in the Army at the U.S. Military Academy in 1984. Szypko served multiple overseas tours to include: Germany, Korea, and England. He deployed to Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq as the director of Strategic Intelligence Engagement, Multi-National Forces-Iraq. Prior to his command at HT-JCOE, Szypko was a senior service college fellow in Washington D.C., where his studies focused on Operational Human Intelligence.