Fort Shafter Community
Pacific Signal Soldiers welcome new Commanding General
Story by SSG Ron Keenan on 07/26/2019
Bright sunshine and clear skies created a beautiful setting as service members, families and friends gathered to witness BG Jan C. Norris accept command of the 311th Signal Command (Theater) from BG Lawrence F. Thoms at the historic Palm Circle parade field here, July 24.
Soldiers assigned to the 311th SC (T) traveled from posts across the Indo-Pacific to take part in the ceremony.
The 311th SC (T)’s operational footprint stretches from California to Korea and its core mission is enabling mission command and continuous access to the cyber domain while competing for a free and open Indo-Pacific.
“The 311th allows the entire joint force to talk across the Pacific, to share information and to secure our network,” said Gen. Robert B. Brown, United States Army Pacific commander.
“Thoms has done a phenomenal job in tough times leading this formation,” said Brown. “He dramatically improved our ability to communicate in the cyber world and security assurance across the theater,” he added.
Thoms, a native of West Allis, WI, has spent the past three years commanding the 311th SC (T). He led the 311th SC (T) during challenging times in the Indo-Pacific theater, specifically on the Korean Peninsula.
“He was essential with reducing cyber threats,” said Brown. “His efforts on reducing threats in the Peninsula ensured we can fight fast.”
Thoms will be moving out of the Pacific theater to a position at the Pentagon. Though he will be moving more than 4,800 miles away, he will always remember the contributions he believes the Soldiers and Civilians of the 311th SC (T) have made.
“We have accomplished a huge amount of work in three years,” said Thoms. “I think part of that is certainly not because of my contributions, but because of those great teammates.”
“I’ll miss the people the most,” Thoms said. “That’s the hardest part about walking away.”
On the parade field, Brown facilitated the exchange of the command’s colors between Thoms and Norris, showcasing his confidence of the two commanders. Once the command colors were exchanged, the change of command was complete.
Norris, a native of Richmond, VA, has served in a variety of roles throughout the Indo-Pacific theater and beyond, most recently as the 311th SC (T)’s Deputy Commander.
“Not only is general Norris technically astute, and has a ton of operational experience, but he is very personable,” said Thoms. “He is an amazing leader and is absolutely the right guy in the right place at the right time to take the 311th to the next level.”