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Feature Stories

NEWS | July 6, 2017

Brig. Gen. Phillips takes ‘Ready Lightning’ command

By Capt. Darrell Melrose U.S. Army Central

CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait – The 335th Signal Command (Theater)(Provisional), conducted a change of command ceremony June 26, 2017.
Brig. Gen. Stephen Hager, 335th SC (T)(P) outgoing commander, relinquished command to Brig. Gen. John Phillips, incoming commander, marking the end of a one-year tour at Camp Arifjan.
As the new commander of the 335th SC (T)(P), Phillips will not only oversee the 335th SC (T)(P)’s operations in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, but he will also serve as the U.S. Army Central assistant chief of staff, Signal (G6).
The command, which has about 5,000 Soldiers, supports unified land operations overseas for the United States military. "Ready Lightning" Soldiers have had a lasting presence in both Qatar and at Camp Arifjan since 2001.
The 335th SC (T)(P) is tasked with supporting overseas unified land operations and planning, engineering, installing, maintaining and defending of the global information grid in the USARCENT area of operations.
Lt. Gen. Michael Garrett, commanding general, USARCENT, elaborated on how the mission of the 335th SC (T)(P) supports USARCENT.
“The 335th supports both tactical and strategic mission commands in our ongoing operations: Operation Inherent Resolve, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and Operation Spartan Shield,” said Garrett.
During his speech, Hager told a tale of how a counseling session with his then senior rater, Maj. Gen. Dennis Lutz, turned into a running joke with Phillips.
“Steve, you are a good battalion commander,” Lutz said according to Hager, “but if you want to be a great battalion commander, you need to be more like John Phillips. He is probably the future commander of the 335th.”
Hager went on to explain that although over the years his friendship with Phillips continued to grow, he always met Phillips with a special greeting: “It’s ‘thee’ John Phillips, future commander of the 335th.”
According to Hager, even though it annoyed Phillips, he was able to get others to use this greeting too.
Over the years, Hager and Phillips went on to develop a friendship. They both went on to other assignments, which culminated in both of them becoming 335th SC (T)(P) commanders.
When Phillips’ turn came to speak, he thanked Hager for his friendship and went on to explain some of his command philosophy and his intentions as commander of the 335th SC (T)(P).
“Technology performs its mission” said Phillips, “but it is relationships that optimize the network.”
Phillips concluded his remarks with these words: “I’ve spent fourteen years working in combat arms and sustainment …
“I never wanted to leave, knowing nothing was better than working with the warriors … then I realized, I could do more working for them, and I intend to do just that.”