The NATO Headquarters Transfer of Authority ceremony took place July 9, 2018, between the incoming commander U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Marti J. Bissell and the outgoing commander U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Robert Huston. Huston said he was departing with an even greater sense of optimism and faith in the people of this country, and the knowledge that working together is the key to making difference.
Huston also thanked his local and international partners on their hard work and support during his tour. He said that one of the things he liked best about his job was having the opportunity to work side by side with the members of the Armed Forces of BiH, who had consistently impressed him by their professionalism, talent and enthusiasm. “I would be proud to serve alongside them anywhere across the globe. They are focused on protecting and defending all of the citizens of BiH”, he said.
The incoming NATO HQ Sarajevo Commander Bissell, among other things, reminded that her country was one of the founding members of NATO, adding that to her NATO means lasting peace, consensus despite differing opinions, commitment to help others, an equal voice at the table and the strength of friendships.
“These things transcend national differences and are crucial to a stable and secure world order. NATO continues to be one of the cornerstones of prosperity in Europe for its member states, and for those who are NATO partners. But partnerships, like any relationship, can be challenging. Enduring and equal partnerships are built on mutual respect and mutual trust. They are achieved through open and honest dialogue on shared issues, by committed, selfless people from all sides”, Bissell said, adding that together, as partners, we will sustain and strengthen Bosnia and Herzegovina for the benefit of everyone, now and in the future.
“Peace, democracy, stability, security are not just buzz words. I am committed to helping Bosnia and Herzegovina achieve a safe, secure and prosperous future,” said Bissell.
Bissell most recently served as the National Guard Bureau Joint Staff Chief of Staff since August 2017 after returning from a federal active duty deployment with the 29th Infantry Division (Forward) in the Central Command area of operations as the chief of staff. She commanded the Virginia National Guard’s Bowling Green-based 91st Troop Command from August 2013 to May 2015, then served as Executive Officer to the Vice Chief, and later Chief, of National Guard Bureau prior to her deployment with the 29th ID.
Bissell is a distinguished military graduate of Oregon State University graduating in 1988 with a degree in accounting and a commission as an aviation officer. Over the course of her career, she served as a platoon leader, executive officer, VIP support platoon leader, assistant operations officer, company commander, aviation maintenance officer, assistant executive officer, assistant team chief, division aviation officer and commander of the Joint National Guard Augmentation Unit.
Bissell completed the Aviation Officer Basic Course, Initial Entry Rotary Wing Course, Aviation Officer Advanced Course, UH-60 Blackhawk Qualification Course, Maintenance Manager and UH-60 Maintenance Test Pilot Course, Combined Arms and Services Staff Course, Reserve Component Multi Functional CSS School, and Command and General Staff College, Army War College and Advanced Joint Professional Military Education. Her assignments have taken her such places as Korea, Germany, Fort Riley, Kansas, Fort Belvoir, Virginia, Sandston, Virginia, Suffolk, Virginia, Jordan and the Pentagon, Washington D.C.