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    Hearon relinquishes command to Slayden

    164th Air Defense Artillery Brigade change of command

    Photo By 2nd Lt. Valeria Pete | On behalf of the Soldiers of the 164th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, Sgt. Kalei...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Valeria Pete 

    Florida National Guard Public Affairs Office

    CAMP BLANDING, Fla. - The Florida Army National Guard’s 164th Air Defense Artillery Brigade welcomed a new brigade commander during a large ceremony at the Camp Blanding Joint Training Center Parade Field, Friday, Aug. 7. Family, friends and dignitaries were present as Col. Matthew Hearon, outgoing commander of the 164th ADA Brigade, passed the organizational colors to incoming commander Col. Grant Slayden.

    Distinguished guests in attendance included The Adjutant General of Florida, Maj. Gen. Michael A. Calhoun, and former commanders of the 164th ADA, such as Brig. Gen. (retired) Frank Laudano, and Maj. Gen. (retired) James D. Tyre, who retired last year from the position of Assistant Adjutant General (Army) of Florida.

    During his remarks, Calhoun commended Hearon on his exemplary leadership.

    “Colonel Hearon, in nearly three years of command, you have provided rock steady leadership for a team whose OPTEMPO (operations tempo) simply has not slowed down,” said Calhoun. “Wherever his units are, so is Colonel Hearon.”

    Hearon took command of the 164th ADA in 2012 and is scheduled to retire after 35 years of service in late August.

    “Every commander always thinks that his Soldiers and his command are the best. I feel the same way, but I can back it up,” said Hearon during his remarks where he highlighted the strengths and accomplishments of the brigade he was passing on to Slayden.

    The change of command ceremony is a military tradition that is rich with symbolism and heritage dating back to medieval times. Throughout military history, the unit colors have marked the position of the commander on the battlefield and served as a rallying point. Now, the colors represent not only the heritage and history of the unit, but also the unity and loyalty of its Soldiers.

    As with all change of command ceremonies, the passing of the unit colors represents the transfer of authority and responsibility for the unit from one commander to another. Commanders do not merely relinquish the control of the unit, but are entrusting the people they have come to know, depend on and trust to another leader.

    “Col. Slayden is a life-long air defense officer and is a proven winner. He is smart, passionate, cares about people, and is full of energy,” said Hearon. “He is the right officer to command this great brigade.”

    Slayden enlisted in the FLARNG in 1986 and later graduated from their Officer Candidate School program. He has served in countless commands including 1st Battalion, 265th ADA Regiment, the 211th Regional Training Institute and Task Force Artemis for the National Capital Region.

    “I pledge to foster a command climate where each Soldier values their membership in this brigade and has the opportunity to realize their full potential for themselves and to better accomplish our mission,” said Slayden. “You’re the ones who do the work, you’re the ones who make great things happen.”

    Slayden graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Florida, a Juris Doctor from the University of Florida, a Master of Strategic Studies from the Army War College, and a Certificate in Project Management from Georgetown University. He also graduated from the United States North Command’s Joint Task Force Dual Status Commander Training Course in 2012. His many awards include the Gen. Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award and the Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) with four oak leaf clusters.

    In his civilian employment, Slayden is the Trial Court Administrator for the Second Judicial Circuit. He is responsible for the operation of circuit and county courts in six counties with 12 court facilities and 37 judicial officers. He and his wife, Kris have four children.

    “Congratulations on being chosen to command this outstanding unit,” said Calhoun. “I am confident that you and Kris will lead the organization with continued distinction.”



    Date Taken: 08.07.2015
    Date Posted: 08.20.2015 11:20
    Story ID: 173722
    Location: STARKE , FL, US 

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