Army Brig. Gen. Ken Tovo, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command Central, speaks during the grand opening of the new SOCCENT headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base, Sept. 29, 2011. (U.S. Army photo by Maj. Robert Bockholt, SOCCENT Public Affairs/ Released)
SOCCENT officially opens doors to new headquarters; Honors fallen

from SOCCENT Public Affairs

10/5/2011 - MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- U.S. Special Operations Command Central officially opened the doors to a new headquarters during a ribbon cutting ceremony held here Sept. 29.

SOCCENT commander, Brig. Gen. Ken Tovo, hosted the ceremony and thanked many special guests in attendance including senior leaders from the base, past commanders and senior enlisted advisors, local government officials, and key construction partners.
SOCCENT is a Theater Special Operations Command that advises the Commander of U.S. Central Command on the capabilities and employment of special operations forces in the geographical theater of operations.

The new headquarters, housing more than 50,000-sq.-ft. of administrative facilities, has been under construction since the fall of 2009. The completion of the project marks a significant upgrade to the capabilities of those responsible for planning and collaborating on special operations abroad.

"The events of 9/11 greatly expanded the operational requirements of SOCCENT, requiring it to plan, coordinate and command special operations across the Central Command area of responsibility against complex and numerous threats on an enduring basis, and at a level far beyond previous levels of activity," said Tovo.

In a recent statement to the House Armed Services Committee's Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcom¬mittee, Adm. William McRaven, the commander of U.S. Special Opera¬tions Command, spoke about his intent for theater special operations forces.

"One of the areas where I intend to put a lot of emphasis is building up the theater special operations commands, so that they have the entire spectrum of capability that I think they'll need for the future," McRaven said.

"I believe that our future, SOCOM's future, lies in the theater special operations forces and making sure that they are robust enough to handle the problems in their particular geographic areas," continued McRaven.

During the ceremony, SOCCENT also dedicated a memorial wall to the fallen service members who died while serving under the command since its inception. The wall, adorned with stars representing the fallen, is prominently displayed within the entry of the headquarters and includes a book of names illustrating the narrative of each Warrior honored.

"The wall is a memorial to the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who died giving their life for freedom," said Command Sgt. Maj. George Bequer, SOCCENT's senior enlisted advisor.

Bequer went on to say that the command will hold a special ceremony on Veteran's Day to continue remembering SOCCENT service members who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Following the formal portion of the ceremony, the public was welcomed into the headquarters and had the opportunity to tour the facilities.