Today’s news:

Fort Hamilton commander bound for Baghdad

Trailblazing Fort Hamilton Army Base chief, Col. Tracey E. Nicholson was bid a fond farewell when the Rankin Healy post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars feted her with a reception in Bay Ridge.

The New Jersey native, who became the first woman to command the 182-year-old Bay Ridge base in 2005, is heading to Baghdad to serve as Secretary of the Combined and Joint Staff under the US’s top commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus.

Nicholson, 47, a decorated colonel and recipient of the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, was joined by her husband, Ret. Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Nicholson, during the pomp-filled program, held at NOX above the post base, 9312 4th Avenue.

Post Commander Angel Rios presented an award to the beloved leader, who is among a choice group of African-Americans around the country to have led a military installation.

Nicholson will be succeeded by Col. Stephen V. Smith, who was stationed in Germany as deputy commander of the 37th Transportation Command, at the formal Change of Command ceremony on June 10.

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