By Staff Sgt. Valeria M. Pete
164th Air Defense Artillery Brigade
STARKE, Fla. (March 29, 2015) – Maj. Gen. Emmett R. Titshaw Jr. relinquished command of the Florida National Guard (FLNG) to Maj. Gen. Michael A. Calhoun, incoming Adjutant General of Florida, during a noble ceremony at the Camp Blanding Joint Training Center (CBJTC), Fla. parade field, Sunday, March 29, 2015. The ceremony also marked the official retirement of Titshaw, after 45 years of exemplary service.
The day was filled with traditions representing the pride in the Profession of Arms expressed by the members of the FLNG. Amongst them was one of the most recognized yet significant of traditions: the passing of the colors. Historically and still to this day, the colors have been at the commander’s side and carried forward into battle. To symbolize relinquishing of command, Titshaw presented the FLNG flag to Gov. Rick Scott, who then presented that flag to Calhoun, symbolizing his taking of command.
Gov. Scott recognized Titshaw and his wife, Gretchen, for their dedicated service to the FLNG.
“First I want to thank Maj. Gen. Titshaw. He has been an outstanding leader. Whatever issue I had that he could be helpful with, he did, and Gretchen did a great job at his side,” Scott said.
Scott also congratulated Calhoun in his new role as the Adjutant General.
“I want to be the first to congratulate Maj. Gen. Calhoun in his new command,” Scott said.
Among the hundreds of dignitaries and military members at the ceremony was Chief of the National Guard Bureau Gen. Frank Grass.
The Adjutant General of Florida is the senior military advisor to the Governor and serves as a director of the Florida Department of Military Affairs (DMA). He is responsible for the training and operations of the FLNG, composed of nearly 12,000 Soldiers and Airmen.
During his remarks Titshaw expressed his pride in troops of the Florida National Guard.
“To say I’m proud of the formation standing in front of us today, would be an overwhelming understatement,” said Titshaw. “Our military strength is our people, and the Florida Guard is a great example of it.”
His pride in leading the members of the Florida National Guard was expressed by his request to Calhoun for one last command to the troops, in which he then called them to “stand at-ease.”
Titshaw assumed command of the FLNG in 2010. He enlisted in the FLNG in 1970, in which he soon commissioned. After completing Undergraduate Pilot Training in 1972, and earning his wings, he was assigned to 159th Fighter Interceptor Squadron in Jacksonville, Fla. Since then he has served in a variety of leadership positions with the 125th Fighter Interceptor Group, also known as the 125th Fighter Wing, and the Florida Air National Guard Headquarters before serving as Assistant Adjutant General – Air and finally Adjutant General.
At the end of the ceremony, Calhoun expressed his gratitude to Gov. Scott for selecting him for the position of Adjutant General. He then continued his remarks by praising the members of the FLNG and ensuring them of his commitment to command.
“To the members of the Florida National Guard, you are truly remarkable. We take on a sacred obligation and I believe that serving in the Florida National Guard is both a noble and difficult job,” said Calhoun. “I also thank Maj. Gen. Titshaw for his mentorship over the past years, Sofia (Calhoun’s wife) and I will sustain and build upon the solid foundation that you and Ms. Gretchen have established.”
Maj. Gen. Calhoun enlisted in the FLNG in 1977 as a private. He commissioned in 1989 as a 1st Lieutenant after a brief break in service and has since served in a variety of leadership roles. He most recently served as the Assistant Adjutant General- Army and as the Director of the Joint Staff (DJS) for the Florida National Guard. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Pharmacy from Florida A&M University and a Masters’ Degree in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College. His latest assignments included command of: the 856th Quartermaster Battalion (Water); the 53rd Infantry Brigade’s Special Troops Battalion; the 211th Regiment, Regional Training Institute (RTI-FL); the 50th Regional Support Group; and recently the 83d Troop Command.
“I take seriously the sacred trust of command and I will ensure that our men, women and families remain ready to respond to the needs of our state and nation,” said Calhoun.