News: The 4th Brigade Combat Team welcomes new Patriot Command Team
Story by Sgt. David Edge
FORT POLK, La. – Col. Mario Diaz passed the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division’s colors to Col. Guy Jones during a change of command ceremony on June 19, 2014, at Warrior Field.
Diaz took command of the Patriot Brigade on Dec. 11, 2011, shortly after the Patriots returned from a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan.
Under Diaz’s command, 4th BCT, 10th Mountain Division sent Soldiers to the Steppe Eagle Exercise in Kazakhstan to help train the Kazakh Army, to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, to help train cadets, and deployed to Afghanistan for eight months as a Security Force Assistance Brigade.
Diaz gave four tasks to all the brigade’s Soldiers when he assumed command.
“I first told them I wanted them to think. In this complex world we live in, every Soldier in this brigade, from private to colonel, must engage their minds. The second thing I asked them to do was move, by foot, by vehicle, by air to get where you need to be and lead. The third thing I ask them to do was fight, never forget why America has Brigade Combat Teams, to close and engage the enemies. The last standing order I gave the Soldiers was to do what’s right,” said an emotional Diaz.
Diaz quoted the famous UCLA basketball coach, John Wooden, when emphasizing the importance of teamwork across the BCT.
“Selfless team work is great team work and a player that selflessly makes a team great is much more valuable than a great player,”
Diaz said. “These words not only relate to basketball but I believe they have a direct correlation to an effective organizational leadership climate and is part of the approach that I have shared with my overall leadership philosophy.”
The Diaz family is going on to the Pentagon, where he will serve as the military assistant to the under secretary of defense for foreign policy.
Brig. Gen. Michael Howard, 10th Mountain Division acting senior commander, served as the senior commander for the ceremony. In his advice to Jones, he quoted retired Sgt. Maj. of the Army Julius Gates, who was present for the ceremony.
“One of the strengths of our great Army is the unique ability of our Soldiers to rise to the occasion and get the job done; during peace or war, they get the job done. All you have to do is lead them.”
Jones comes to the 4th BCT, 10th Mountain Division from the United States Army War College and the 82nd Airborne Division.
Jones thanked special visitors who helped him throughout his career and finished his speech emphasizing the BCT’s unity and focus.
“We are now one team and we will define our purpose collectively, and get after it in all our assigned tasks and missions,” said Jones. “We will keep focus on three areas, our mission, each other, and our families.”
He went on to stress the importance of the brigade’s ability to answer the nation’s call with the help of the community.
“We must always be ready, by living on amber,” said Jones. “We will learn from each other and take care of each other, supported by the 10th Mountain Division, Fort Polk, and the surrounding communities.”
Jones expects the Patriot Soldiers to continue their high standards of conduct.
“We will be Soldiers of honorable character, these will be our watch words and will define the culture of our team,” said Jones.