SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO - On June 16, Lieutenant Colonel John P. McCoy relinquished command of the United States Forward Operating Locations (USFOL) on Curaçao and Aruba to Lieutenant Colonel Donald A. Morris. The Change of Command is a time-honored military tradition which symbolizes the continuation of leadership and unit identity despite the change in individual authority. Passing the ceremonial flag from the old commander to the new commander physically represents this transfer.
Present at the ceremony were U.S. Consul General Allen Greenberg and Deputy Governor of Curacao Michelle Russell-Capriles, Colonel John D. Galloway, Director of Operations for Headquarters 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern), Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, and other invited guests.
Lieutenant Colonel John P. McCoy distinguished himself in the performance of outstanding service to the United States as Commander, Detachment 2, 612th Theater Operations Group, Headquarters Twelfth Air Force (Air Forces Southern), Forward Operating Locations, Curacao, and Aruba.
During this period, Lt Col McCoy led 131 airmen and contractors responsible for the execution of 101-million-dollar base operations support contract in support of United States Southern Command's aerial counter-narcotics mission. He ensured the success of 21 Department of Defense and Homeland Security deployments, executed 288 missions, 1,500 flight hours, and enabled the seizure of over 89 tons of narcotics valued at 1.7 billion dollars.
Working closely with the United States Consulate, he led efforts in the renewal process of the international agreement between the United States, Netherlands, Curacao, and Aruba to continue operations from Curacao and Aruba through 2026.
Under Lt Col McCoy's leadership, the USFOL successfully imported the first COVID-19 vaccines into Air Forces Southern area of responsibility and enabled inoculation for 131 United States military and contractor personnel.
His successor, Lt Col Morris was the Deputy Chief of Combat Plans Division for the 612th Air Operations Center, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern), Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona.
The USFOLs on Curacao and Aruba and the 429th Expeditionary Operations Squadron support multinational aircraft operations that conduct detection, monitoring, and tracking missions that play an important role in counter-drug efforts in the region. USFOL Curaçao was established because of a multilateral agreement between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the United States whereby aircraft and crews deploy to the USFOL on a temporary basis to conduct counter-drug operations.