News: 7th ID farewells deputy commanding general for support, welcomes replacement
Story by Staff Sgt. Mark Miranda
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – The 7th Infantry Division held a farewell ceremony for Brig. Gen. William K. Gayler, deputy commanding general for support, Feb. 19 at the French Theater.
Gayler served as the 7th ID deputy commanding general for support since the division re-activation in October 2012.
His next assignment will be as director, officer personnel management, at the U.S. Army Human Resources Command, Fort Knox, Ky.
The farewell for Gayler included honors, with cannon salutes by Battery B from 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Fires Brigade.
Maj. General Terry Ferrell, 7th ID commanding general, presented the Legion of Merit to Gayler for his service to the Bayonet Division.
“Bill Gayler helped form the division footprint,” Ferrell said. “He put plans, policies and procedures in place, giving guidance and direction on where this organization needed to go.”
The ceremony also welcomed Col. Paul Bontrager, who replaced Gayler as DCG(S).
Bontrager’s most recent command assignment was with the 101st Combat Aviation Regiment, Fort Campbell, Ky.
In a show of appreciation for the Gayler and Bontrager families, 1st Lt. Roberto Portales presented a bouquet of red roses to Michele Gayler for her support and dedication to the soldiers and families of the 7th Infantry Division and JBLM. Spc. Kenneth Pfeiffer presented yellow roses to Kelly Bontrager, welcoming her to the Bayonet family and JBLM.
“Thanks to Brig. Gen. Gayler and Michele for bringing us up to speed and prepared to move forward – Kelly and I feel blessed and honored to stand before you and accept this opportunity,” Bontrager said.
Staff Sgt. Pedro Lopez, noncommissioned officer in charge of the salute battery, presented Gayler a polished shell casing following honors, as a memento.
“We often say we should never pass up an opportunity to lead soldiers and to develop those that will go on to lead the Army and our nation – it’s truly been an honor for us to walk among you,” Gayler said in his farewell remarks.