The Change of Command ceremony was held at the European Personnel Recovery Centre (EPRC) in Poggio Renatico (Italy) on 1st July 2021, when Col. (DEU-AF) Stefan Demps transferred his duties to Col. (FRA-AF) Hervé Lahille.
The Ceremony was presided over by Maj. Gen. Francisco González-Espresati Amián (ESP-AF), the EPRC Director.
As Host Base Commander and EPRC Italian Steering Group Member, Maj. Gen. (ITA-AF) Claudio Gabellini, opened the ceremony with a welcome address to the participants. After the reading of both outgoing and incoming Commander’s curricula vitae, Col. Demps took the floor for his speech where he described his impressions of the past three years. He talked about highlights and drawbacks, all in a context of a challenging environment, not last being the global COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, he recalled the results achieved during his appointment, alike the recognition of EPRC as the EU Military Discipline Leader for PR training or the support provided to NATO in Education and Training, such as the NATO certification of the Joint Personnel Recovery Staff Course, included now in the NATO Education and Training Opportunities Catalogue (ETOC) and the support provided by EPRC personnel to the NATO NRF certification exercises and courses. Moreover, he praised the EPRC Staff for the relentless and active support during his time as the Commander. Thereafter, Maj. Gen. González-Espresati Amián took the stage to compliment Col. Demps for his engagement and initiative throughout his time as a Commander and took the opportunity to welcome the incoming Commander to Poggio and wished him a successful and enjoyable time in this new position.
After the address, the EPRC “KEY”, symbol of the Command, was handed over by Col. Demps to Maj. Gen. González-Espresati Amián who then passed it on to Col. Lahille, thus formally becoming the new EPRC Commander.
Thereafter, Col. Lahille took the podium and praised the development of the EPRC over the past years, expressed his honour and pleasure to take this post, thanking the Nations for their confidence and briefly described his intentions for the future
Col. Demps then invited all present to the EPRC premises, where an informal get-together took place allowing a friendly exchange farewell and welcome gifts to and by the EPRC staff.