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(Enlarge) Lt. Col. John Jenks, the new commander of Operations Division 7, addresses the audience.

Photos by Sherry Dibari

Army Lt. Col. John P. Jenks formally took over the command of Operations Division 7 in an Assumption of Command ceremony held at The Courses of Fort Meade on Dec. 17. Jenks replaces Air Force Lt. Col. John Franz.

Operations Division 7 provides unique support to the national intelligence community. In his new position, Jenks also serves as deputy chief of the Overhead Collection Management Center (OCMC) at the National Security Agency.

Capt. Scott Brown, Operations Division 7, welcomed the audience of family members and military dignitaries and announced the arrival of the official party. The Joint Honor Guard then presented the flags for all the service branches within Operations Division 7. Staff Sgt. Nikema Seay, 29th Intelligence Squadron, sang the national anthem and Chaplain David Causey, 704th Military Brigade, gave the invocation.

Energy and ideas

Dr. Dan Gallagher, chief of OCMC, praised Jenks for his exemplary leadership. "I know that we're getting an individual with nearly boundless energy, enthusiasm and ideas," he said.

Gallagher said the unit will be "doing some precedence setting things within the intelligence community" in the future and that Jenks is the man to get the job done. "This is why for me and for all the men and women in the OCMC, we are particularly glad to have Lt. Col. Jenks join our team."

Air Force Col. George Bremer, deputy director at the Systems Operations Office, congratulated Jenks for taking over a "blue ribbon unit." Said Bremer, "to the unit, you're getting a truly great individual. He not only has experience in what we do, but he is Army lineage. I think it's truly going to be rewarding for you."

Bremer told the unit Jenks plans to institute a new fitness program based on his Army experience at the beginning of the year. "He has challenged you to the runs, the push-ups and the sit-ups they've been doing in the Army forever," Bremer joked.

"I think it's a great thing we have an Army commander up here," said Bremer. "I think it's going to give us a new perspective and a new focus."

The Assumption of Command was completed when Bremer gave Jenks the operation group's arms flag. Jenks then addressed the audience.

Coming of age

"To me this is a beautiful day," said Jenks, noting the rainy weather. "This is indeed a special unit that has a proud tradition and standards of unequalled performance."

Jenks said he was proud and privileged to lead the unit into the future. Noting that the unit will celebrate its 18th birthday in March, Jenks said "we're coming of age." In the years ahead, he said the unit will be "expected to be building partnerships and will be defined by team work and the spirit that we bring to our efforts."

Prior to his current post, Jenks served as deputy chief, Future Plans and Architectures and chief, Mission Management Division, at the Aerospace Data Facility in Denver, Co.

Jenks was commissioned after graduating from Radford University ROTC as a Distinguished Military Graduate and George C. Marshall award recipient. His first tour of duty took him to tactical operations with the 8th Infantry Division, Germany.

Jenks served next with the Electronic Warfare Engineering staff at the National Security Agency here. During Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Jenks served as mission director and officer-in-charge of the Army element at the Denver Field Station in Co. He also served as a charter member of the National-Tactical Support Group enterprise. Jenks provided special operations intelligence support as all-source intelligence division chief of a U.S. Army Special Mission unit, supporting operations in Haiti, Somalia and the U.S. Pacific Command theater.

Jenks served as the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade S-3 Operations Officer as part of the Dayton Peace Accords Implementation Force in Bosnia. He also served as Deputy G2 of the Multi-National Division, North, 1st Armored Division, Stabilization Force, Bosnia, in support of Bosnian National Elections and in response to NATO operations in Kosvo.

National intelligence

He also served as Battalion S-3, 302nd Military Intelligence Battalion in Wiesbaden, Germany, providing tactical exploitation of national capabilities to V Corp's elements engaged throughout Europe and the Middle East.

Jenks later returned to national strategic intelligence activities and filled multiple roles while assigned at the Joint Defense Facility, Pine Gap, Alice Springs, Australia.

He served as a mission director, division chief, as as a Det A Commander, U.S. Army Element, Combined Support Group.

Following Jenks' remarks, a representative of Operations Division 7 presented his wife, Kathryn, with a bouquet of yellow roses. The Jenks have been married for 20 years and have two children.

Capt. Brown then announced the departure of the official party, and a reception was held for the guests.

Prior to the Assumption of Command ceremony, Jenks presented Maj. Robert Hassler, Operations Division 7, with the Director's Circle Award for exceptional meritorious performance on behalf of the director and the national intelligence community.

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