News: Greywolf hails one commander, farewells another
Story by Spc. Sharla Lewis
FORT HOOD, Texas – The 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division experienced a change of command on the division’s Cooper Field June 21 where Col. David Lesperance assumed command from Col. Douglas Crissman.
Many members from the surrounding communities and Fort Hood attended the ceremony to see the transfer of command take place.
Angela Ierardi, the division commander’s wife, presented red roses to Carolyn Crissman, thanking her for her continued service to the brigade over the last 26 months and yellow roses to Kelly Lyn Lesperance, welcoming her and her family to the unit.
Maj. Gen. Anthony Ierardi, commanding general of the 1st Cav., and the two colonels mounted horses and conducted a mounted troop inspection before transferring the colors.
The transfer of a unit’s colors is significant in many ways.
With the transfer, the brigade’s legacy is passed as a building block for future performance and achievement. Historically, the colors served as the point around which the soldiers of the organization rallied as they moved into battle. The colors remained at the side of the commander and were carried forward even when the commander fell in combat.
n a circle on Cooper Field, Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Metheny, command sergeant major of the 3rd BCT, initiated the transfer of command by passing the brigade’s colors left to outgoing commander Col. Douglas Crissman, signifying the unit’s appreciation for his leadership and guidance. Crissman relinquished command of the Greywolf Brigade by passing the colors to Ierardi who accepted the colors and passed them and command of the unit to Lesperance.
Finally, the new commander returned the colors to Metheny, signifying his trust and confidence in the leaders and Soldiers of the organization.
Lesperance has a long and dedicated relationship with the 1st Cavalry Division.
As a captain, he worked as an air operations officer and twice as a company commander with 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment between 1996 and 1999.
After graduating from the Command and General Staff College in 2002, Lesperance returned to the division and served as the operations officer for 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment and later as the executive officer of 1st Brigade Combat Team until 2005.
In 2008, Lesperance returned to 1st Bn., 8th Cav. Regt. and commanded the battalion until 2010.
Most recently, Lesperance graduated from the United States Army War College.
In his speech, Lesperance said he and his wife were honored to come to the brigade and looked forward to the upcoming years.
“We understand our responsibility to care for the soldiers and families of Greywolf, enabling mission accomplishment, as a member of the First Team,” he said. “We will do our duty.”
Crissman’s next assignment will be at the University of Texas in Austin where he will complete a Senior Service College Fellowship.
Crissman said his time as commander of 3rd BCT was filled with challenges and opportunities.
“I recall some days where I felt like all I had to do was sit back and watch this talented team make miracles happen,” he said in his speech. “Then others where I felt I was drawing upon every single day of my 24 years in uniform and my almost 46 years of life to carefully assess the battlefield we were navigating.”
The highlight of Crissman’s time in command was overseeing the brigade’s rotation in southern Iraq.
Greywolf was assigned an area of operation that encompassed the four southernmost provinces of Iraq; Basrah, Maysan, Dhi Qar and Muthanna. The brigade conducted stability operations to strengthen Iraqi Security Forces and to enable strategic military and civil transitions while securing the international highway for United States Forces withdrawal to Kuwait.
At dawn December 18, 2011 Greywolf soldiers were the final American forces out of Iraq.
Crissman said that previous to arriving at Fort Hood he had never worn a Stetson, didn’t own a pickup truck and hadn’t ridden a horse since he was a kid but leaving the cavalry traditions behind was a bittersweet experience.
Crissman said, “After 26 months as the Greywolf command team, I think it’s safe to say that Carolyn and I now bleed black and gold as we’ve become full-fledged members of the First Team.”