WHINSEC marks 16th anniversary and honors leaders, Soldiers

WHINSEC-building

The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation on Fort Benning celebrated its 16th anniversary Jan. 12. (File photo by Patrick Albright, MCoE Command photographer)

By Lee Rials, WHINSEC public affairs /

FORT BENNING, Ga. – The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation celebrated its 16th anniversary Jan. 12 with toasts and a cake, but that was only one of four significant WHINSEC events on the day.

The oldest and youngest U.S. employees, and the oldest and youngest Partner-nation instructors, join the command group Jan. 12 in cutting the 16th anniversary cake.

The oldest and youngest U.S. employees, and the oldest and youngest Partner-nation instructors, join the command group Jan. 12 in cutting the 16th anniversary cake. (Photo by Lee Rials)

Just before the anniversary event, Guatemalan Army Col. Francisco R. Rivera accepted the symbols of his new rank from his family, along with the congratulations of WHINSEC and his team in the School of Professional Military Education. Col. Rivera came to WHINSEC to be an instructor in March, 2014.  He is scheduled to return to his Army in June.

Guatemalan Army Colonel Francisco R. Rivera accepted the symbols of his new rank from his family Jan. 12 during a promotion ceremony.

Guatemalan Army Colonel Francisco R. Rivera accepted the symbols of his new rank from his family Jan. 12 during a promotion ceremony. (Photo by Lee Rials)

In another ceremony, Peruvian Army Maj. Ericson Zelada was awarded the U.S. Army Meritorious Service Medal by Institute Commandant, Col. Keith Anthony, then was recognized by the U.S. Cavalry and Armor Association as a “Noble Patron of Armor,” with CSM Abel Tavera and Mexican Army Col. Alejandro Nuñez presenting the medallion and certificate.

Peruvian Army Maj. Ericson Zelada was recognized Jan. 12 by the U.S. Cavalry & Armor Association as a “Noble Patron of Armor,” with Command Sgt. Maj. Abel Tavera and Mexican Army Col. Alejandro Nuñez presenting the medallion and certificate. Maj. Zelada was also awarded the Army Meritorious Service Medal during the ceremony.

Peruvian Army Maj. Ericson Zelada was recognized Jan. 12 by the U.S. Cavalry & Armor Association as a “Noble Patron of Armor,” with Command Sgt. Maj. Abel Tavera and Mexican Army Col. Alejandro Nuñez presenting the medallion and certificate. Maj. Zelada was also awarded the U.S. Army Meritorious Service Medal during the ceremony. (Photo by Lee Rials)

The award recognizes Armor and Cavalry supporters (in this case a foreign officer working directly with U.S. Army organizations in support of armor, cavalry or reconnaissance missions) who have significantly contributed to the organization’s operational success, Trooper morale and welfare.

Outgoing commander, Capt. Erika Pellot, passes the guidon of WHINSEC’s Headquarters Company to Col. Keith Anthony, WHINSEC commandant, before passing to incoming Headquarters Company commander, Capt. Jimmyvan Cogles,

Outgoing commander, Capt. Erika Pellot, passes the guidon of WHINSEC’s Headquarters Company to Col. Keith Anthony, WHINSEC commandant, before passing to incoming Headquarters Company commander, Capt. Jimmyvan Cogles, (Photo by Lee Rials)

Culminating the day’s activities, Col. Anthony presided over the transfer of command of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company from Capt. Erika Pellot to Capt. Jimmyvan Cogles in a ceremony in the WHINSEC auditorium.

Capt. Pellot has been assigned to WHINSEC three times, the first as a personnel clerk. She returned to WHINSEC after commissioning to be a course director, then took command of the Headquarters Company.

Capt. Cogles had been serving as an instructor in the Maneuver Captains Career Course-WHINSEC prior to taking command.

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