A Palmerton native is about to take the reins as the commanding general for Army Cyber Command.
Major General Rhett A. Hernandez was scheduled to take part in the uncasing of the colors and Change of Command of the United States Army Cyber Command earlier this morning in Fort Belvoir, Va.
At that time, Lieutenant General Kevin T. Campbell relinquished command to Hernandez, who will be the commanding general for Army Cyber Command.
Army Cyber is the Army Service Component for Cyberspace Operations. On Feb. 1, the chief of staff of the Army directed establishment of the new three-star command to be headquartered in the National Capital Region.
The change of command ceremony is an important part of military tradition. For years, commanders have conducted a formal ceremony before relinquishing command.
When the event begins, soldiers of the command assemble in formation. At that point, the master of ceremonies opens the event and gives a brief review about the history of the change of command, and the MC also reads the unit's history and a brief biography of both the incoming and outgoing commanders.
Next, the guidon, or organization flag, passes hands from the outgoing commander, to the senior officer at the ceremony, then to the new commander. At that point, the assumption of command orders are read out loud. The ingoing and outgoing commanders each give their closing remarks.
Major General Hernandez was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant of Artillery from the United States Military Academy, U.S. Military Academy, New York on June 2, 1976.
His commands have ranged from the Battery level with 2nd Battalion, 33rd Field Artillery and 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery to Battalion level with 1st Battalion, 14th Field Artillery, later redesignated 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery to Brigade level command as the Commander of Division Artillery, 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized, Fort Hood, Texas. He also served as the Assistant Division Commander (Support), 1st Armored Division, United States Army Europe and Seventh Army, Germany and OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM, and the Commanding General, United States Army Human Resources Command, Alexandria, Virginia.
In addition to his command time, Hernandez has also served in numerous key staff assignments to include Strategic Planner, Officer Personnel Management System (OPMS XXI) Task Force, Alexandria, Virginia; Chief, Operations Division, J-39, The Joint Staff, Washington, D.C.; Director, Officer Personnel Management Directorate, United States Army Human Resources Command, Alexandria, Virginia; and Chief, United States Military Training Mission Saudi Arabia, United States Central Command, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He recently served as the Assistant G-3/5/7, United States Army, Washington, D.C.
Hernandez holds a bachelor of science degree from the United States Military Academy, a masters of education degree in systems engineering from the University of Virginia, and a master of science degree in national security and strategic studies from the National War College, Fort Leslie J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
His awards and decorations include The Distinguished Service Medal (2nd Award), Defense Superior Service Medal (2nd Award), Legion of Merit (2nd Award), Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal (5th Award), Army Commendation Medal (5th Award), Army Achievement Medal (2nd Award), Combat Action Badge, Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge, and Army Staff Identification Badge.