FORT HOOD, Texas – Approximately 300 soldiers, friends and family members of the 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) gathered for a change of command and change of responsibility ceremony, July 25, on Sadowski Field here.
Col. Timothy D. Luedecking assumed command of the brigade from Col. Mark T. Simerly, and the brigade’s new command sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj. Alton Haney, assumed responsibility from Command Sgt. Maj. Jessie C. Bates.
“We say farewell to a commander and his wife who have done a magnificent job today, by bidding farewell to Mark and Cindy Simerly and we welcome in Tim and Kathy Luedecking,” said Brig. Gen. Clark W. Lemasters, commander of the 13th ESC. “I also want to thank Command Sgt. Major Jessie and Tangy Bates for their service as the interim command sergeant major team, and welcome Command Sgt. Maj. Alton Haney, and his wife Mary and their daughter Malia.”
On the field, the brigade’s soldiers stood proudly in their formations enduring temperatures exceeding 90 degrees waiting for the first glimpse of their new brigade commander and for some, probably the last view of their outgoing commander. And they didn’t have to wait too long as the Official Party took to the field to inspect the troops.
The outgoing commander, Simerly, told those gathered that the ceremony was a tribute to the 4th Sust. Bde., soldiers on the field.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the fundamental purpose of this ceremony is not to mark a transition of leadership. The true purpose is to honor the outstanding service and sacrifice of these great Wrangler soldiers serving both here and in Afghanistan today,” said Simerly. “My heart is filled with both pride and humility,” he added.
As they took to the field, the Official Party boarded an M3 Halftrack and proceeded to drive across the front of the brigade’s troops for their inspection. As they approached, the soldiers were called to “attention” and rendered a salute, dropping it back down as they passed.
After the review, Bates passed the Brigade Colors to Simerly for the last time before conducting a change of responsibility with Haney.
Haney then took up his new position in the middle of the ceremony as the brigade’s newest command sergeant major and eventually received the colors from the new brigade commander, Luedecking.
As the Official Party returned to the viewing stands, the two colonels traditionally crossed paths behind Lemasters, officially trading places as the outgoing and incoming commanders.
“I can’t begin to tell you how excited and humbled Command Sgt. Maj. Haney and I are to take command of such a great unit, and a great group of soldiers, that signify the best sustainment brigade in our Army.” said Luedecking. “What an awesome opportunity.”
Wrangler 6 then turned his attention to the outgoing commander and his family for their outstanding work in making the Wrangler Brigade what it is today, before thanking his own family members for making the long trip to Fort Hood from Michigan.
“My family have always gone out of their way to support our military family over the last 22 years despite the distances,” said Luedecking.
Before leaving the podium, Luedecking took a moment to address the Army’s greatest asset, the soldiers.
“As usual, you look magnificent today,” he said. “Command sergeant major and I look forward to leading you and this great unit through the challenge of the next two years. Thank you for everything that you do.”
He added that they expected the soldiers to uphold the highest standards and disciplines and to uphold the Wrangler motto, “Just get it done.”
The ceremony was rounded off with a Pass-In-Review, a tradition that dates back to Roman times when battalion commanders marched their troops past the new commander for inspection.
When the ceremony was complete, soldiers, families, and friends were invited into the III Corps building for refreshments and a cake cutting ceremony by Luedecking and Haney.