FORT STEWART, Ga. - During a sweltering morning ceremony, Col. James Crider bid farewell to 1st Armor Brigade Combat Team and passed off command to a new leader during a ceremony on Cottrell Field, Aug. 28.
After almost 31 months in command, Crider said goodbye with a genuine sadness.
“The time in command goes by very quickly,” said Crider. “We seem to be very busy day-to-day but suddenly you look up and somebody is telling you you have to go. You never feel like you've completed because the mission doesn't ever really come to an end.”
Maj. Gen. John Murray, the Third Infantry Division commander, was on-hand to pass the brigade colors from Crider to the new Raider Brigade commander, Col. Robert Ashe.
Ashe is looking forward to the future with the Raider Brigade. A native of Albany, Ga., he has spent the better part of a decade in the Third Infantry Division, and coming back to Fort Stewart was his first choice of assignments.
“I am glad to be here, and I am looking very forward to getting to know people within this organization,” Ashe said. “The detail of what missions are ahead is less important if we get the team right.”
During his speech, Crider relayed his faith in the new commander.
“Col. Ashe is the best choice the Army could have possibly made to serve as the commander of the Raider Brigade,” he said. “He has an Army-wide reputation of excellence that he has earned while serving in the toughest jobs a combat arms officer can have.”
Crider, his wife, Jill, and son Jack are now headed to Fort Bliss, Texas. Before leaving, he had one final message for the Soldiers and Families of the brigade.
“I just want to thank everyone, starting with a lot of the people who are close to me by virtue of their position,” he said. “I appreciate all that they have done to help me so that I can make good decisions and keep this brigade going in the right direction. I am grateful to all the Soldiers who really give it everything they have every day. Overall, I just want to say thank you and that I sincerely appreciate their service and their sacrifice, I know this is not an easy lifestyle.”