On Thursday 21 June 2012 COL Bill Ostlund assumed Command of the Duke Brigade (3rd BDE, 1st ID) from COL Chris Toner at Brooks Field, Fort Knox, KY. It was a long time coming for a man who has more than earned a Brigade Command. It was a privilege and a pleasure to be at Fort Knox to witness the Change of Command ceremony.
As we began to assemble around 9:30 for the 10:00 ceremony, the sun was already beating down and the temperature was sweltering. I was happy to have a seat out of the sun. I was even more happy to be, literally, surrounded by several Soldiers who have previously served under COL Ostlund in the 173d, 2-503d, the ROCK.
Front row l to r - Meredith, Lemon, Griffith & Andy Varner (Rudy Varner's granddad)
Back row l to r - Terry, Barberet (decked out in lifeguard clothes) & Varner
At 10:00 we were asked to direct our attention across Brooks Field (which is HUGE) as the Brigade began to march onto the field for the Change of Command Ceremony. Impressive is an understatement to what it was like to watch 2-2 Infantry "Ramrods", 1-26 Infantry "Blue Spaders", 8-4 Cavalry "Raiders", 1-6 Field Artillery "Centaurs", 3-1 Special Troops Battalion "Valiant Warriors" and 201st Brigade Support Battalion "Thor" march in formation onto the field. The 113th Army Band "Dragoons" did an exceptional job. I had chills watching and listening.
Here they come!
After the Introduction, Invocation and Introduction of Special Guests, one of the horses and riders came forward with a basket of red roses for Mrs. Toner and yellow roses for Mrs. Ostlund.
Roses for the outgoing and incoming Commander's wives
Then Mrs. Toner fed a carrot to the horse and gave the rider a basket full for all of the horses. Just so cool in my opinion!
Mrs. Toner feeding a carrot to one of the horses (sorry my angle was so bad but better view in the video below)
Just after the horse rode away the sound of "BOOM", "BOOM", "BOOM" filled the air as did the smoke from the artillery salute. Very impressive.
The Official Party arrived and began an Inspection of the Troops.
Inspecting the Troops - COL Ostlund on left
Paying respects to Old Glory during inspection of the troops
Inspection almost complete - COL Ostlund on left
After the inspection of the troops was complete the color guard (on horseback) came forward for the National Anthem. Those horses are amazing! I highly commend their trainers, riders and support personnel.
Then it was time for the actual Change of Command. The color guard moved forward. CSM Brad Meyer received the Battalion flag from them.
CSM Meyer with the Battalion Flag
CSM Meyer handed the flag off to the out going Battalion Commander, COL Toner, who, in turn, handed it off to the Reviewing Officer, Brigadier General Donald M. MacWillie.
CSM Meyer handing the flag over to COL Toner
BG MacWillie then handed the flag over to COL Ostlund the new Commander of 3rd CBT, 1st ID.
BG MacWillie handing the flag to COL Ostlund
COL Toner, BG MacWillie and COL Ostlund then each gave their remarks followed by the troops passing in review.
Passing in Review
COL Ostlund during the Pass In Review. Not gonna lie - I got teary eyed over this.
After the Change of Command ceremony we were invited to attend the reception which was very nicely done.
Rudy Varner, Cameron Meredith, COL Ostlund, Rob Lemon
and Heather Ostlund
Rudy Varner, Cameron Meredith, me, COL Ostlund, Rob Lemon
Lucky me with Soldiers who formerly served in the ROCK
Me and Heather Ostlund - I love that lady!
I am honored to know Bill, Heather and their sons. I am grateful for their friendship and couldn't possibly be more proud of or happy for them as they take their place in the history of 3rd BDE, 1st ID. They have endured way more than necessary to have finally arrived at this more than earned and well deserved assignment. Congratulations!!!