Headquarters for United States Southern Command will mark its transfer of command authority from Quarry Heights, Panama to Miami, Fla. with a departure and flag lowering ceremony at its Ancon Hill location at 4 p.m.. (EST*), Thursday, September 25.
The long-planned departure will mark another milestone in the continued implementation of the Panama Canal Treaties of 1977 which call for the termination of all U.S. military presence in Panama by noon December 31, 1999, unless a new agreement is reached between the two governments.
Early the next morning, Southern Command's headquarters staff will leave from Howard Air Force Base, Panama for their new home -- a recently completed two-story building located in the Westpointe Business Park, about four miles west of Miami International Airport.
The command, and its predecessor commands, operating from its post at Quarry Heights adjacent to Panama City and the Panama Canal, has been the senior U.S. military command in Central and South America since 1917.
Smallest of the Department of Defense's five regional unified commands, Southern Command is responsible for the command and control of U.S. military activities in Central and South America and the Caribbean and for designing, coordinating, and executing U.S. military strategies which support U.S. national security objectives throughout the 12.1 million square-mile area.
The command's area of responsibility was doubled by recent changes in DoD's Unified Command Plan, which transferred the waters around Central and South America, the Caribbean with its 13 island nations and European and U.S. territories, the Gulf of Mexico, and part of the Atlantic Ocean north to the 28th parallel over an 18-month period ending July 1, 1997.
The move comes 30 months after President William J. Clinton announced the selection of Miami/South Dade County as DoD's choice to be the new home for this regional unified command.
The announcement followed and exhaustive survey of 126 sites in the continental U.S. and Puerto Rico.
Construction of the two story, 154,848 square-foot building began on June 1, 1996 and was recently completed following the installation of wiring and state of the art communications equipment and computers.
Southern Command's move to the Miami area will bring with it 980 civilian and military positions along with a $35 million annual payroll.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: With the transfer of command authority, Southern Command's Public Affairs Directorate will assume new phone numbers and address.
The new phone numbers will be (305) 437-1200, office and (305) 437-1240, fax..
The mailing address will be 3511 N.W. 91st Ave, Miami, FL 33172.
For more information on media coverage available for both departure and arrival activities for the command, please call (507) 282-3206 in Panama or (305)597-4740 in Miami.)
* - Panama does not convert to daylight savings time.
The Quarry Heights ceremony will occur at 5 p.m., Washington, D.C. time.