News: '63' hands Blackhorse reins to '64'
Story by Sgt. Giancarlo Casem
FORT IRWIN, Calif. - The 63rd Colonel of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, Col. Paul Laughlin, handed over his command to the incoming commander, Col. Antonio Aguto, during a change of command ceremony at Fort Irwin, Calif., June 30.
The ceremony also saw the commands of all three squadrons change hands. Laughlin assumed command in June, 2008, and has served as the 63rd Colonel of the Regiment for two years. From here, Laughlin will serve as the Military Advisor to the Minister of Defense of Afghanistan.
“We, the outgoing command teams, were well aware of the great gift given to us these past two years,” Laughlin said. “Command is always a privilege. Command in time of war is a distinct honor. Part of the honor was knowing how lucky we were in that we did our part in training the force and we were allowed to lead, develop, make mistakes and be entrusted with large formations of Blackhorse Troopers. To put it succinctly, it was the highlight of our professional lives being part of the Blackhorse Team.”
During his farewell speech, Laughlin thanked his command team and the rest of the Blackhorse Troopers for their performance during his tenure as the commander.
“It was a hell of ride,” Laughlin said. “We’ve got you all to thank for some very special memories. We’ve trained hard and long, cared for each other, kept accountability, shown amazing agility and have had a good time doing it. Truth be told, that’s a monumental feat considering what we do month in and month out, you know it is almost miraculous.
“But miracles happen because you did routine things routinely every single day and you were committed to excellence. These are the reasons why I was so proud to wear this patch and be part of the team. I sincerely thank each and every one of you for your service to the regiment, our Army and nation.”
The incoming commander, Col. Antonio Aguto, previously commanded the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment and deployed with the unit in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The new squadron commanders and command sergeant’s majors also took command of their first formation during the ceremony.
The outgoing 1st Squadron commander, Lt. Col. Todd Walsh relinquished his command to Lt. Col. Christopher Doneski, while Command Sgt. Major William Tramel assumed responsibility from Command Sgt. Maj. Steven Mulig.
The 2nd Squadron command team of Lt. Col. Mike Hester and Command Sgt. Maj. Scott Peare handed the reins of Eaglehorse Squadron to Lt. Col. A. Brian Robertson and Sgt. Maj. Stephen Young.
Regimental Support Squadron transferred command from Lt. Col. Andrew Cooper to Lt. Col. Lance Eldred.
The new commander and squadron command teams all vow to continue the tradition of hard work that their predecessors embodied.
“Blackhorse, you look awesome and I, along with all our new squadron commanders and command sergeants major are particularly proud and humbled to be standing here in front of you today,” Aguto said in his speech. “Thank you to you and the Blackhorse families for your continued sacrifice in service to our nation.”