News: ‘Gunners’ welcome familiar face as new battalion commander
Story by Spc. Jessica Luhrs-Stabile
FORT BLISS, Texas - The 2nd Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, “Gunners” 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, welcomed a familiar face as their new battalion commander during a Change of Command ceremony, Aug. 19 on the Ready First Parade Field.
Lt. Col. Charles “Hawk” Mills, the outgoing commander of the “Gunners,” relinquished command to Lt. Col. Paul Weyrauch, who served as the Brigade Fire Support Officer for 1/1 AD and the Operations Officer for the “Gunners” from 2005-2007.
Distinguished guests of the event included Gen. Walter L. Sharp, Weyrauch’s father-in-law and commander of United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea; Brig. Gen. Retired Paul Weyrauch, Lt. Col. Weyrauch’s father; and Lucille Pittard, wife of Brig. Gen. Dana J.H. Pittard.
Mills, a field artillery officer with more than 20 years of service, has been the commander of the “Gunners” since August of 2009. During his time in command he led his soldiers through a successful National Training Center rotation immediately followed by a deployment to Kirkuk, Iraq. He will be continuing on to be the Chief of Training and Doctrine, at the United States Army Field Artillery Center and School on Fort Sill, Oka.
During Mills’ final speech to the “Gunners” he thanked them for their dedication.
“I will always remember the Gunner men and women who have shown such endeavor and willingness to put themselves in positions far beyond their call of duty,” he said. “You have done what I have asked of you and given so much more, I will never forget your devotion to duty.”
The incoming commander, Lt. Col. Weyrauch, also a field artillery officer, is a graduate of the Texas Christian University, with more than 15 years in service. Weyrach has served at Fort Stewart, Ga.; Fort Hood, Texas; the Pentagon; Hohenfels, Germany, and deployed to Ramadi, Iraq. He most recently served as the operational level, joint fires and targeting planner with U.S. Pacific Command’s Standing Joint Force Headquarters, Camp Smith, Hawaii.
“A change of command ceremony provides us with an opportunity to welcome a new commander to our ranks,” said the “Ready First” Commander, Col. Ken Adgie. “I know his [Weyrauch] experiences have prepared him to take care of our soldiers and their families as they prepare for the mission ahead.”
During his first speech as commander of the “Gunners” Weyrauch assured his soldiers he will continue the great work of their outgoing commander, Mills.
“Gunners, it is truly an honor to be back in Texas and with the Gunner Battalion,” he said. “I promise you I will continue the great work of Hawk Mills and I thank him for setting us up for success.”