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(Enlarge) Four-year-old Samantha Ruth of San, Pedro, Calif., patiently waits for the start of the change of command ceremony for her aunt Col. Yvette C. Hopkins, who assumed command of the 902nd Military Intelligence Group on Friday at McGlachlin Parade Field. The 704th MI Brigade, Fort Meade U.S. Army Dental Activity and Asymmetric Warfare Group's Baker Squadron each had a change of command ceremony over the past week. (Photo by Jen Rynda)

Col. Yvette C. Hopkins may be the new commander of the 902nd Military Intelligence Group, but she is no stranger to Fort Meade or the organization.

From 2007 to 2009, Hopkins commanded the 310th MI Battalion, a unit within the 902nd Military Intelligence Group formerly known as the Counterintelligence (Counterespionage) Battalion until its redesignation in 1996.

Hopkins assumed command of the 902nd MI from Col. Andrea L. Thompson during a change of command ceremony Friday on McGlachlin Parade Field.

Thompson, commander of the 902nd MI since 2010, will serve as a senior fellow in the Chief of Staff of the Army's Strategic Studies Group at the Pentagon.

"Today marks the change of command in which the 902nd's proud colors are passed from Colonel Andrea Thompson to Colonel Yvette Hopkins," said Maj. Gen. Stephen G. Fogarty, commander of U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command. "Leaders will change, but the loyalty to our nation and the mission is unending."

The unit, nicknamed "The Deuce," conducts worldwide counterintelligence operations in support of Army and national objectives including deploying a battalion-sized task force to Iraq.

During Thompson's command, nearly 400 Soldiers and civilians deployed to various contingency operations, Fogarty said.

"Colonel Thompson, you are a special leader," he said. "You brought a wealth of combat experience, technical and tactical acumen and enthusiastic leadership to this brigade. You pushed this organization to its limits, and the results speak for themselves."

Under Thompson's command, the 902nd MI won several Army and counterintelligence awards and moved in April to its new headquarters at McDonough Hall on Ernie Pyle Street.

During the ceremony, Thompson spoke of the unit's successes and thanked the Soldiers and civilians of the 902nd MI.

"You've made me a better person and a better intelligence professional, and for that I thank all of you," she said. "I look forward to the next chapter of this unit's history."

The outgoing commander also welcomed Hopkins back to the organization.

"I know the brigade is in great hands with you leading the way," Thompson said to Hopkins. "Have fun. It truly doesn't get any better than this."

Before taking over the 902nd MI, Hopkins attended the National War College in Washington, D.C.

She was commissioned in 1988 after graduating from Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio. Throughout her nearly 25-year career, Hopkins has had several commands: commander of the 310th MI Battalion, Fort Meade; company commander of the 650th MI Group, Naples, Italy; company commander for A Company, 308th MI Battalion, Panama; and platoon leader for B company, 165th MI Battalion, Karlsruhe, Germany.

Hopkins also served in multiple staff positions at the Pentagon; Fort Meade; Kabul, Afghanistan; Iraq; Fort Lewis, Wash.; Saragevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina; Honduras; Panama; and Germany.

"The 902nd is in great hands in Colonel Yvette Hopkins," Fogarty said.

During her brief remarks, Hopkins said that although she has been away from the organization for two years, she has continued to watch the 902nd MI succeed.

"You are a national treasure," she said. "I'm excited to be part of the team."

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