By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Fort Hamilton Army Base, the city’s only active military post, has a new commanding officer.
A “Change of Command” ceremony was held at the fort Wednesday morning to officially install Col. Eluyn Ginés as the new leader of the historic base.
Ginés served two tours of duty in Iraq. Prior to his assignment to Fort Hamilton, he served at the U.S. Army Central Command in Kuwait.
Ginés succeeds Col. Michael Gould, who served as Fort Hamilton’s commander for two years and is now headed for an assignment in the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
The “Change of Command” ceremony, which took place on a bluff overlooking New York Harbor, included a passing of the fort’s colors, or flag, from Gould to Brigadier General John Uberti, who then passed the colors to Ginés. Command Sgt. Maj. Hector Prince, the highest-ranking non-commissioned officer at the base, also took part in the passing of the colors. Under U.S. Army tradition, the command sergeant major is the keeper of the colors.
In his remarks, Ginés called the fort “an amazing installation” and said “assuming command is truly a dream come true and a blessing from God.”
Fort Hamilton is an important part of the U.S. Army, Ginés said. The fort, named after Alexander Hamilton, was built in 1825.
Ginés said he is looking forward to working with Bay Ridge community leaders.
“Together, the sky’s the limit,” he said.
Ginés added that he and his wife Nancy, who is retired from the U.S. Army, “are humbled by the welcome we have received” from community leaders, elected officials and veterans with ties to Fort Hamilton. As the colonel spoke those words, Nancy Ginés, seated in the front row of spectators, nodded her head in agreement.
Ginés also paid tribute to his predecessor.
“Congratulations on a job well done. You have done a great job, my friend,” he told Col. Gould.
The ceremony offered Gould the opportunity to bid a fond farewell to Brooklyn, a borough he admitted now has a special place in his heart.
“To the Brooklyn community, thank you for your commitment to Fort Hamilton,” Gould said.
Gould singled out for praise Bill Guarinello, chairman of the Fort Hamilton Citizens Action Committee, a group that advocates for the fort with government officials. Gould called Guarinello “my teammate.”
The outgoing fort commander spent much of his speech praising the work done by the fort’s civilian employees.
“They all operate like a well-oiled machine,” he said.
Several local elected officials, including state Sen. Marty Golden, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis and Councilman Vincent Gentile, attended the ceremony, along with a large group of veterans and civic leaders.
Uberti, deputy commanding general for support in the U.S. Army’s installation management command, served as the host of the ceremony.
“Command is one of the greatest honors the Army can bestow,” Uberti said.