Operation PRESENCE-Mali Task Force Bamako has Change of Command

Above image: Lieutenant-Colonel (LCol) Tyler West (right) handed over command of Operation PRESENCE-Mali, Task Force Bamako, to LCol Jaime Phillips (left).

On August 10, 2020, Lieutenant-Colonel (LCol) Tyler West handed over command of Operation PRESENCE-Mali, Task Force Bamako, to LCol Jaime Phillips.

The continued Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) presence in Mali to support MINUSMA is part of Canada’s ongoing commitment to support the peace process, defend human rights, and stabilization in the country.

Change of Command Ceremony

The ceremony took place behind their team house in Bamako, and LCol Phillips says the ceremony was much less formal than a traditional change of command ceremony. Still, all the members of our small team’s personal contributions made it feel appropriate and special.

“What you can’t see from the photos is that we moved our dining room table into the back yard, and the flags are propped up on cases of bottled water,” says Phillips.

She says nobody presided over the ceremony.

“We conducted it ourselves at the end of a busy workday. We are lucky to have an amateur photographer in our ranks, so we used the opportunity to take some nice shots of both the outgoing and incoming teams, as well as a group shot of all of us together. For the handover portion, Tyler and I just called out what we were doing as we were doing it,” she explained.

Instead of signing a change of command certificate, Phillips signed for some equipment holdings that were being transferred over.

LCol Phillips says, “Instead of the traditional handshake after the signing of the “scrolls,” we opted for a COVID-appropriate elbow bump, which is when our teammate/photographer captured that excellent photo. It was a lovely ceremony and a friendly and fitting culmination to what I thought was a really successful handover between our two small teams.”

There were zero dignitaries and only nine people in attendance total. Participants included the outgoing team, the incoming team, and their Australian housemate who applauded from a distance in order to adhere to quarantine regulations.

“It was a great day that I will never forget, and it is an honour and a privilege to be given the opportunity to command the Canadian contingent of MINUSMA. And a special thanks to Tyler and his team for setting us up for success here, we feel ready to help deliver on Canada’s commitment to UN peace operations in Mali,” says LCol Phillips.

LCol Jaime Phillips

LCol Phillips is a Canadian Artillery Officer who graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) in 2004. Upon commissioning, she was assigned to the 2nd Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, and the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery School (RCAS), where she completed various tours of duty including Troop Commander, Adjutant, and Battery Commander.

Her staff assignments include Staff Officer to the Combat Training Centre Commander in 2005, Instructor at the RCAS from 2011-2013, Senior Instructor at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) in Fort Benning, U.S. from 2016-2018, and Staff Officer to the Commander of the Canadian Army 2019-2020.

In operations, she commanded an artillery troop in Kandahar, Afghanistan, as part of Task Force 1-07 of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). She deployed domestically to support the G-8 Summit in 2010. This is her first deployment with the United Nations.

LCol Phillips holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours Military and Strategic Studies, Minor in Military Psychology and Leadership) and a Master of Arts (War Studies) from RMC. She also has a Master of Science (International Relations) from Troy University. She is currently in her third year of a five-year part-time Doctoral program through RMC’s PhD War Studies Department.

She is a graduate of the Field Instructor-in-Gunnery Course, the US Army Command and General Staff College’s satellite course in Fort Benning, Georgia, and the Combat Team Commander Course. LCol Phillips is a Member of the Order of Military Merit and speaks English, French, and Spanish fluently.

Major Tyler West

Major Tyler West joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 2001 from Victoria, British Columbia. He was commissioned after four years at Royal Military College. He has served in different functions throughout his career, such as a Fighter Pilot, Planning Officer, Staff Officer, and Executive Assistant.

His notable postings have included four years with 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron in Bagotville, Quebec. Four years at 1 Canadian Air Division (1 CAD) in Winnipeg, Manitoba. In his final year at 1 CAD, he occupied the role of Executive Assistant to the Commander.

In 2018, Tyler transitioned from the Regular Force to the Reserves, where he took an opportunity for deployment.

In August 2020, he returned from the 15-month deployment in Bamako, Mali, where he worked as a Military Staff Officer for the United Nations mission. He spent the last seven months of that tour as the Commander of Task Force Bamako.

Apart from the aforementioned Tour in Bamako, Mali, Tyler has spent time on numerous deployments, including Operation Foundation – Qatar, Operation Ignition – Iceland, and Operation Mobile, where he was based in Italy.

His educational background includes a BA in Business Administration and a Minor in History from Royal Military College and an MBA in Executive Management with Specialization in Management Consulting from Royal Roads University.

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Julia Lennips

Julia is a journalist who is an avid reader and an artist. She is living in North Bay, ON pursing her passion for reporting.

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