News: Division West conducts change of command ceremony
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Gail Braymen
FORT HOOD, Texas – First Army Division West welcomed its sixth commanding general in a change of command ceremony on Cameron Field near Division West headquarters here Jan. 23.
Maj. Gen. Warren E. Phipps Jr. assumed command of Division West from Maj. Gen. Perry L. Wiggins.
Phipps’ most recent assignment was as the deputy director for regional operations for the Joint Staff at the Pentagon.
The ceremony bid farewell to Wiggins and his wife, Annette, who joined the Division West team in October 2011.
“Thank you for being here on this perfect Texas day,” said Wiggins. “Being here at ‘The Great Place’ was absolutely a blessed thing for Annette and me, and we truly appreciate all of you for being here today to share this celebration with us.”
Division West’s eight brigades are led by truly competent leaders, Wiggins said.
“Your excellence is a testament to your professionalism and strict adherence to standards in Division West,” Wiggins told Division West Soldiers, “and a large part of that comes from having an organization that is comprised of committed and mature officers and noncommissioned officers, the backbone of our professional Army.”
Wiggins talked about how it felt to see the First Army patch on the right sleeve of Division West Soldiers who recently returned from serving in Afghanistan on Security Force Assistance Teams.
“It was a great sense of pride to see the big ‘A’ patch on the right sleeve of Soldiers returning from combat,” Wiggins said. “It was the first time it’s been worn on as a combat patch since World War II.”
Wiggins told the audience that it was hard to let go and that he would miss being in command of the division.
“It’s been a great ride,” Wiggins said, “and I’m grateful for having a front-row seat.”
Wiggins will go on to be the deputy commanding general of United States Army North (Fifth Army) at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
Phipps, who was a commander on Fort Hood years ago, said he and his wife, Sylvia, are elated to be back at ‘The Great Place.’
“I’m deeply honored to join this division, and I am humbled by the legacy of those that have preceded me,” said Phipps. “I pledge my all and will strive to advance the ideals of our shared Army values and, no matter what arises, we will remain committed to providing the best-trained, combat-ready units in any theater of operations.”
Division West, a subordinate unit of First Army, trains and validates Army National Guard and Army Reserve Soldiers for deployment to combat or other contingency operations. The division also trains units of the active Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps and United States partner nations, for a total of nearly 40,000 service members every year.
Division West’s eight subordinate training brigades are the 120th Infantry, 479th Field Artillery and 166th Aviation Brigades at Fort Hood, Texas; the 181st Infantry Brigade at Fort McCoy, Wis.; the 189th and 191st Infantry Brigades at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; and the 402nd Field Artillery and 5th Armored Brigades at Fort Bliss, Texas.