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    University of North Alabama alumnus takes guidon from a fellow Lion

    University of North Alabama alumnus takes guidon from a fellow Lion

    Photo By Lt. Col. Josh Jacques | Capt. Landon P. Cassels (right) prepares to take Bravo Company, 526th Brigade Support...... read more read more



    Story by Maj. Josh Jacques 

    Combined Joint Task Force 10

    NANGAHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Lt. Col. Timothy R. McDonald, commander, 526th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), handed over command of Bravo Company from Capt. Jonathan Fredericks to fellow University of Northern Alabama alumnus Capt. Landon P. Cassels at Forward Operating Base Fenty, Afghanistan.

    For Cassels, it was a very exciting day - not only was he becoming a company commander, he was handed the guidon by a fellow University of North Alabama “Lion.”

    “It’s a great opportunity to take part in taking leadership in a unit like the 101st Airborne (Division),” said Cassels. “Second Brigade, there is a rich history and there is honor to be taking command.”

    The passing of the guidon is a large part of a change of command ceremony; it represents the loyalty and unity of the unit’s Soldiers. The guidon is the commander’s symbol of organization. Wherever the commander is, there also is the guidon.

    “To have Lt. Col. McDonald there … he went to the same school where I did … made me feel a little more connected to home,” said Cassels, who also serves as an Afghan National Security Forces logistics adviser. “I wish my family could have been here … I would like to have had my wife here to share it with me.”

    In Army regulation 600-20, it states: “It is a privilege to command. Command is exercised by virtue of office and the special assignment of members of the United States Armed Forces holding military grade who are eligible to exercise command.”

    Cassels, a 2009 graduate from UNA, not only took command of Bravo Company, he also had the privilege to take command of his company deployed in Afghanistan.

    “It was a very unique opportunity to conduct a company change of command ceremony with a fellow UNA graduate in combat; I consider it a once in a lifetime event,” said McDonald, a 1994 graduate.

    It is a very rare occurrence, for two officers who graduated from the same school, to have the opportunity to pass the guidon of command.

    “The University of North Alabama, since 2000, commissions on average 10 to 11 cadets per year,” said Jose R. Atencio, the recruiting operations officer for the University of North Alabama.

    Cassels deployed with the unit in February and has served in multiple positions within the unit in Afghanistan. He has portions of his unit spread out around the world from Fort Campbell, Ky., to different FOBs around Afghanistan. He is challenged daily by command and being the primary logistics adviser for the Afghan National Army’s 201st Corps G4.



    Date Taken: 10.06.2014
    Date Posted: 10.06.2014 01:24
    Story ID: 144340

    Web Views: 76
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    University of North Alabama alumnus takes guidon from a fellow Lion