News: Duke Brigade changes top leader in first-ever ceremony on Fort Knox
FORT KNOX, Ky. - Col. Chris Toner, the Duke’s commander for the last three years, relinquished the colors to Col. William Ostlund on Brooks Field under a nearly cloudless sky during one of the hottest mornings of the year at the central-Kentucky installation. In addition to senior Fort Knox leadership, leaders from the 1st Infantry Division Headquarters at Fort Riley attended, as did members of the local community and dozens of families of Duke Brigade soldiers.
Brig. Gen. Donald MacWillie, Deputy Commander of the First Infantry Division, officiated the ceremony, which was held at Brooks Field, on behalf of 1ID Commander Maj. Gen. William Mayville who is currently serving in Afghanistan.
“Chris you’re a soldier’s soldier”, said MacWillie, referring to the outgoing commander. “You’re the soldier that every father or mother wants their son or daughter to go to war with. You’re the commander every enemy dreads,” he said.
Toner, a Topeka, Kan., native, officially assumed command of the brigade in September 2009 at Fort hood, Texas, after the Dukes returned from their first Afghanistan rotation, and was responsible for moving the Brigade to Fort Knox where it activated October 2009. Less than 15 months later the brigade departed a second time to eastern Afghanistan, returning in January 2012 after 12 months.
Acknowledging the significant accomplishments the 3/1 IBCT achieved under his command, both during their build up and while deployed, Toner quickly deferred credit to Soldiers and the Families supporting them for not only the brigade’s success, but the success of the Army as a whole.
"It's been said the strength of our nation is our Army, the strength of our Army is our soldiers, and the strength of our soldiers are our families," said Toner.
Toner, who will be moving to Fort Campbell, Ky. to assume the duties of Chief of Staff in the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault!), acknowledged that Ostlund and his wife were the best team to take over the enormous responsibilities of a brigade geographically separated from its divisional headquarters.
“Bill and Heather are the right team at the right time to lead these soldiers and families to another challenge”.
MacWillie agreed, citing why Ostlund was chosen to lead the Duke Brigade.
"He's a hell of a trainer, he's proven war fighter time and again. [He] and Heather are [going to] make a difference to these Soldiers and continue the [Duke] legacy," said MacWillie.
Ostlund, who calls Omaha, Neb., home, enlisted in the Army in 1983 and served his first four years in the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. He then received his commission through the Army Reserve Officer's Training Corps program at the University of Nebraska in Omaha. He has multiple deployments dating back to Operation Desert Shield/Storm and also previously commanded a battalion in combat in Afghanistan.
Ostlund acknowledged the significance of the role he had assumed.
“I understand the tremendous responsibility associated with this duty and eagerly seek the challenges associated with commanding, leading, and serving Duke soldiers,” he said.
As Ostlund prepared to move into position for the traditional pass and review of the soldiers newly assigned under his command, he paused to thank those who supported him in his career, giving him the opportunity to command a seasoned brigade combat team like the Dukes.
"I offer family members that have shared this incredible journey and the countless others that have contributed to me being commander of 3/1 a sincere thank-you," said Ostlund.
Date Posted:06.21.2012 17:37
Location:FORT KNOX, KY, US
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